Students raise more than $55,000 during Hold Up for Haiti

More than $55,000 was collected for Haiti earthquake relief efforts during Hold Up for Haiti, a fundraiser sponsored and organized by Student Government, Texas Round Table, Face Aids and the Student Volunteer Board.

Tin buckets used to collect donations

Hundreds of student volunteers dispersed to more than 30 street corners across Austin on Saturday (Feb. 6) to help collect donations for the American Red Cross, Partners in Health and Save the Children.

"We are truly amazed at the selflessness of the UT students and administration, as well as the Austin community," said Reilly Milton, Texas Round Table president. "There were hundreds of people who wanted to find a proactive way to help those suffering in Haiti, and this was their solution."

Students raised more than $25,000 in the four hours they solicited donations, making the Hold Up one of the most successful charitable fundraisers hosted by university student groups. The Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas, a community of entrepreneurs dedicated to providing corporate community investments, agreed to match the donations collected during the event.

"I was so excited when we found out they were going to match everything we collected because it meant we'd be able to help more people," said Marianne Nitsch, Student Volunteer Board chair. "It was amazing to know that with their help we were able to raise more than $50,000 in just one day."

Santo Brocato, a senior and member of Texas Wranglers, coordinated volunteers in the weeks leading up to the event. Brocato and a team of student leaders and administrators from all over the campus helped plan the event, holding weekly meetings to work out every detail of the Hold Up.

"So much went into preparing for the event on multiple fronts," Brocato said. "The most challenging thing was making sure that the volunteers were in workable groups and got where they needed to be the day of the Hold Up."

Milton said he hopes the university will serve as an example for other universities around the nation when acts of selflessness are needed. "We needed to come together and help, and that is exactly what we did," he said.

Learn more about Hold Up for Haiti and how to donate online.