This post was written by Katie Briante, a student and CRS Ambassador at Cabrini College.  She is currently a Spring 2016 intern with CRS and a blogger for their CRS University blog.


On Saturday, April 16th, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Ecuador.  More than 650 people died and thousands of homes were destroyed.  Over 100,000 people were affected by this earthquake, which was the largest Ecuador has seen in over 30 years.  CRS is doing everything possible to respond to those who have been affected by this tragedy.


CRS and its church partners in Ecuador are working to provide those who were affected with clean water, temporary shelter, food, living supplies, and other immediate needs.

CRS Student Ambassador chapters are also responding here in the U.S. by raising money, holding events, and raising awareness about the earthquake.

Fairfield University is one example.  After the earthquake, they knew they had to do something to respond.  They set up tables on campus to educate people about what was happening and ask for donations.  They also spoke during Masses to make sure that the message was spread as widely as possible.

“Some people would pass by and not really give us a second thought, but others would stop by and ask us what we were out there for, ask us why we were doing what we were doing,” Deirdre McElroy, a CRS Student Ambassador at Fairfield University said.  Upon explanation, students were very moved to contribute.

Through all of their efforts, they were able to raise about $1,500 to help with earthquake relief.

Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia also has a particular connection to Ecuador.  Every winter they send a group of students as part of an immersion trip.  Many of the students that participated in the immersion trip had asked what they were going to do as a campus community to respond because they still felt a connection to the country.

“We needed to respond in some way to this devastation, so we organized pretty quickly and simply,” Emily Kane, the Campus Ministry Associate at St. Joe’s said.  “We started a fundraising page through CRS for St. Joe’s, and we’ve just been passing that link around.  Then we have an 11 a.m. Mass on campus, so we had a collection and let everyone know that the collection was going to CRS directly for earthquake relief efforts and we’ve brought in almost $1,200.”

Saint John’s University also created a fundraising page through CRS to support those in Ecuador.  They sent the page to faculty, staff, and administration, and within the first hour had raised over $200 in donations.

At Boston College, the CRS Student Ambassador group mobilized their networks swiftly to support Ecuador relief efforts.  Using the “points drive,” a system that involves partnering with the University’s dining services to donate money from students’ dining dollars, Boston College students initiated an immense donation drive.

“From the time it took me to walk from the upper dining hall to the lower one, CRS Student Ambassadors had raised an additional $2,000,” Danielle Corea, the universitity liaison from CRS to Boston College, said.  “I was so impressed with this hard work and swift action.”

Boston College met their benchmark goal of raising over $15,000.

At Seton Hall, students also sprung to action through the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) to help raise money for CRS.  President Esteban asked students to donate money for those people without food, shelter, or water.

Even though they were limited geographically in the ways that they could help after the earthquake, these colleges and universities and many more across the country stepped up to contribute their time, talent, and resources to the relief efforts.

For more on CRS work in Ecuador, visit the landing page for Ecuador Earthquake relief.  To create a donation page for your campus, visit our new Donor Drive platform, where you can set up your own fundraising efforts and share them with the entire campus community.  You can also create pages for future emergencies and/or to contribute to the long-term development work of CRS.

Thanks to the following campuses for creating Ecuador Earthquake relief fundraising pages:

  • Saint John’s University (NY)
  • Saint Joseph’s University (PA)
  • Santa Clara University (CA)
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette (LA)
  • Stanford University (CA)
  • Marquette University (WI)

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