Two historic storms passed within miles of St. Kitts last month; Hurricane Irma to the north, and Hurricane Maria to the south, St. Kitts was spared the worst. With minimal damage to both the campus and the island, students, faculty and staff have come together to support one another, their sister institutions in Sint Maarten and Dominica and neighboring islands.
Last weekend, the Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine Community (RUSVM) Puerto Rican student community held a Boricua Silent Auction & Dinner to benefit Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico. The funds raised from the event were combined with a campus donation drive. A total of $18,689 US was raised through these combined efforts with a donation match from RUSVM, which will go towards supporting the hurricane relief efforts for PR.
The dinner and donation drive for Puerto Rico is just one example of the generosity and quick action of the RUSVM community. After both storms had passed St. Kitts, RUSVM administration worked to set the semester in motion again and a number of donation drives for the surrounding islands were quickly mobilized. A drive was organized by students for Barbuda, an island about 60 miles to the east of St. Kitts. The island was particularly devastated by Hurricane Irma, with the storm damaging approximately 95 percent of the island infrastructure. RUSVM students partnered with a local business to assist with transportation of donated goods to the island of Antigua, where nearly all of Barbuda’s residents evacuated. Students also organized a similar donation drive for goods and food on campus to send to Dominica.
“Our St. Kitts campus was spared the worst of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. However, many of our surrounding Caribbean islands were not as fortunate, and the people and communities affected are in our thoughts,” said Dr. Sean J. Callanan, Dean of RUSVM. “I am proud of our community members that have stepped up to provide aid and coordinate assistance during this challenging time, and are we glad to be able to contribute to hurricane relief efforts.”
Children from the Ross University Preparatory School also devoted time to their own relief efforts, holding a food drive their first day back at school. After Hurricane Maria, the students participated in a week long food drive collecting food and toiletries in conjunction with the St. Kitts – Dominica Association. Two vehicles worth of items were delivered to assist those in need. In addition, the grade 1 and 2 class set up a lemonade stand to raise funds to help with the relief efforts in Puerto Rico. $1,197EC was raised as RUSVM students and colleagues purchased and donated funds toward the effort.