RIT Leads Online National Campaign to Help Earthquake Victims in Pakistan

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Jonathan Schull is a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology who, like many of us, will celebrate Thanksgiving in a warm house surrounded by family. Schull knows the grim reality: half a world away, thousands of earthquake victims in Pakistan have no homes or food and may soon freeze to death. With severe weather only weeks away, victims desperately need winter survival gear.

Schull and some of his colleagues and students have started an online grassroots campaign urging people to donate equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and tarps. The Web site, www.QuakeHelp.net, lists various drop-off sites in the Rochester area and across the country. Snow Country in Pittsford Plaza is accepting donations.

People in Pakistan are in need of our help, says Schull, an information technology professor in RITs B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. With Americans celebrating Thanksgiving this week, many college students are going home to give thanks and count their blessings. Its a perfect time for them to rally their communities and get people to send their camping equipment and messages of goodwill.

The Web site is a little more than a single page, but it sends an important message that will reach student and community organizations all over the country, says A.J. Siegel, president of RIT Hillel.

Other organizations are arranging for mountain climbers and relief workers to deliver the supplies to the highest altitudes and most vulnerable communities in Kashmir, Pakistan and India, says Schull. Its a race against time and snow. This is a rare opportunity to save lives and establish personal relationships in an important part of the world.