Penn students reach out to help Chile earthquake victims

Penn students help Chile earthquake victims

When there’s a call for help after a natural disaster, Penn students respond quickly with their hearts, minds and wallets. After a 7.0 earthquake devastated portions of Haiti in January, students raised thousands of dollars through performing arts events, food drives and other benefits. Now, students are coming together again to help victims of Chile’s recent earthquake.

On Friday, March 19, a student-led group is holding a Chilean feast and movie night in Houston Hall’s Hall of Flags to raise money for those affected by the earthquake. Attendees can buy empanadas and other Chilean foods.

For a suggested donation of $5 for students and $10 for the general public, attendees can also watch the Chilean movie, “La Nana (The Maid.)” Benjamin Leavenworth, the honorary consul of Chile in Philadelphia, and Chancellor Gladys Zepeda-Gordon, the consulate general of Chile, are expected to attend.

Carlos Aspetti, a graduate student in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, came up with the idea for the fundraiser while watching news coverage of the earthquake with his parents. “My father mobilized his contacts in the consulate, my mother organized a team of cooks who will be catering the event and I was left to do everything Penn-related,” he says.

Other Penn schools are also lending a hand. International students in the Law School are planning to dedicate their annual service project to selling foods from their native countries to raise funds for Chile.

And a group of Wharton students from Chile have organized a fundraising project by creating a website,, where people can easily donate by using a credit card or PayPal.

“Our idea is to reach as many people as possible in a short time to bring our help to Chile as soon as possible,” says Jorge Cruz, one of the organizers.

Originally published on March 18, 2010