Lawrence responds to Nepal disaster

Though oceans away, the recent earthquake in Nepal hit close to home at Lawrence University. In response, students like sophomore Bimalsen Rajbhandari and senior Aubrey Lawlor decided to act philanthropically.

The fundraising events that took place were “Grills, Games and Giving: Cookout for Nepal,” a party at Global Health house titled “Rage for Relief”, and various henna tables hosted throughout the week outside of Andrew Commons and at Ormsby Zoo Days. Student volunteers sat at henna tables outside the dining hall while Rotaract and Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp) both hosted hennna booths at Ormbsy Zoo Days and at the quad cookout, respectively.

“At the best, I hoped the event would be a really fun way to bring people together and raise money for Nepal,” began Lawlor, “At the worst, it would just be a fun way to bring people on campus together.”

Initially Lawlor’s idea, the grill out was a combined effort. Lawlor stressed that the participation of all the quad houses in the event “accomplished comradery and awareness.”

Awareness was also fueled through other means. Writers of the Post-Crescent, Appleton’s local newspaper, approached Lawlor earlier in the previous week. As a result, locals from the community were also seen at the event.

This unanimous support does not go unnoticed.

“I am really grateful for the support,” begins Rajbhandari who is from Nepal and has spearheaded a variety of fundraisers for the cause. “These people [like Lawlor] wanted to host these events on their own; it was their idea. It is very nice to have people like that [on campus].”

Besides Lawlor and Rajbhandari, other organizations like Global Health house, Appleton’s Rotary club, Lawrence University President Mark Burstein and Campus Life have offered to help with raising funds. Through this, Rajbhandari has been able to better gauge the direction of the fundraising goals.

“A lot of the funds that are currently being donated are going toward disaster relief,” said Rajbhandari. “When the interest [in the earthquake] dies down, when the media attention is gone, we will still need funds for long term rebuilding.”

Consequently, Rajbhandari aims to send the money toward rebuilding efforts. Exact organizations are yet to be discovered.

“We are going to do our homework based on the needs of Nepal and use my contacts in Nepal to see where the money raised should go,” said Rajbhandari.

Rajbhandari plans to continue to raise funds until returning to Nepal next winter break.