Donations, deployments and digital deeds

Donations, deployments and digital deeds

by Camille Diola on September 7, 2012 - 8:10 pm

UA&P stages epic relief drive

A few. quick numbers from UA&P’s relief effort during the recent calamity: 29,450 relief packs distributed, Php148,045 cash donations, and 1,064 volunteers.

How did we hit the highs? It was amazingly the single digits that made them: Five intensive days, two nationwide trending topics, one team, one goal, and one University.

It was in the morning of August 7, Tuesday, when the Center for Student Affairs called for the UA&P H.O.P.E.S. relief oepration, formed during Typhoon Ondoy, to be reinstated. A handful of UA&P students and staff who reside near the University brought in whatever goods they could spare from their homes and sorted incoming donations of food, clothes and toiletries for the victims of torrential monsoon rains and flooding of the past few days.

The rains were still at their peak, but the donations slowly trickled in and a few more hands extended help. The then small group of volunteers, though occupied with the on-site efforts, ebgan an online campaign using the University’s official social media channels and individual Facebook and Twitter accounts of students and staff to rally volunteers and donors for the cause.

At first, it was a photo of students carrying a banner that says “Donate Here” (in UA&P) that became viral on the biggest social networks overnight. But this was immediately followed and reinforced by straitforward posters, thought-out posts, telling photos of volunteers’ efforts, and thousands of voices scattered in the digital space round-the-clock.

UA&P, which was among the first respond to the needs of the victims and its community, quickly became one of the largest relief centers in the country. A dedicated team embarked on a mission to rescue UA&P students, employees and their families caught by the floods. As soon as there were more volunteers, teams were deployed to various affected areas and yet more stayed at the site to prepare goods for distribution.

The online efforts didn’t cease one minute either. The acronym “UA&P” became the most talked about topic on Twitter and the hashtag “#UNITAS” soon ranked among the nation’s most popular threads on the second day (August 8) of H.O.P.E.S. alone.

The University motto became a battle cry for responsive action, and sentiments of pride for their alma mater and encouragement from alumni and observers across continents resounded.

Over the next few days, the drive amassed great amounts of donations from individuals, groups and companies and welcomed throngs of volunteers–even those from other organizations and volunteers–arriving at our gates to assist in the packing and relief operations.

Even members of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation who caught the trend on Twitter joined UA&P’s rescue missions. Students, staff, and alumni also undertook side-initiatives of daring (transforming of the Multi-Purpose Court into a hot meals kitchen) and creativity (sewing up old clothes into blankets).

The outpouring of generosity for 3,000 families caught by disaster was inarguably stronger than the worst storms the region has witnessed. The recent relief operations were proof that the unitas spirit, arising from this small corner in Pasig, can move and inspire souls beyond physical and digital borders.

Photography by Irmay Ledesma, Erwin Canlas, Yanie Somes & Marcella Caraan

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