Update: NU Stands with Pakistan raises more than $17,000

Brian Rosenthal

The NU Stands with Pakistan campaign raised $17,072 in its three-week fundraising blitz, enough money to aid tens of thousands of people displaced by the summer’s massive flooding, organizers announced on their website Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re very grateful for what the Northwestern community has done and how they responded,” said McCormick junior Sahil Mehta, one of the group’s founders. “I’m humbled and honored to have been a part of something that really demonstrates the beauty of the Northwestern community and the way it can come together in a tragedy.”

The campaign set a goal of raising $8,536 – $1 for every Northwestern undergraduate student – and said that total would feed 34,144 Pakistanis whose homes and towns are still underwater.

They have raised exactly twice that much.

“It really goes to show just how cohesive, concerned and active the Northwestern student body is,” said Medill senior Noreen Nasir, co-president of the Muslim Cultural Student Association, who called the announcement “a proud moment for Northwestern.”

Mehta credited an aggressive marketing campaign for the effort’s success. Organizers asked University officials for support, appealed to campus media publications for publicity and spread information through Facebook and other social media websites.

In addition, the group benefited from a large gift from A&O Productions, which donated $1 of every ticket sold to its Fall Blowout Show, which featured Snoop Dogg and Kid Cudi. That netted $5,327.

“We wanted to leverage those two huge names toward a good cause,” Elsa Stahura, co-chair of promotion and public relations for A&O, told The Daily at the concert. “We really want to stand by what they’re doing.”

Flooding triggered by annual monsoon rains has destroyed crops and homes across Pakistan, killing about 2,000 and displacing millions in the past two months. It is the worst natural disaster in recent history, affecting more people than the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia and the earthquakes in Haiti combined, according to the United Nations.

The money will go toward water, food, medicine and temporary housing initiatives organized by Oxfam America, an international charity organization. NU Stands with Pakistan chose Oxfam because it is already established in Pakistan and has low overhead costs, Mehta said.

A similar group formed after the January earthquake in Haiti, NU Stands with Haiti, raised more than $18,500 in a month. That group’s goal was also $1 for every Northwestern undergraduate. The Pakistan campaign has been harder because the disaster has not been as high-profile, Mehta said.

Both campaigns show the generosity of NU students, he said.

“I’m totally confident that the Northwestern student body is one that you can call upon,” he said. “They’ll be there. It just takes one e-mail or one gchat or one call.”

NU Stands with Pakistan is still accepting donations. Those wishing to donate can join the group’s Facebook group or e-mail the campaign directly.

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