Students and staff of the College of Social Sciences held a book sale last Friday to raise money for victims of Hurricane Maria, which left millions in Puerto Rico without food, water, electricity and shelter.
Dr. Maritere López, associate professor of early modern history who is a native of Puerto Rico, said although her immediate family lives in the continental U.S. she still has some family living in Puerto Rico.
That fact alone, she said, immediately made her a proponent of the book sale when it was proposed by her colleague, modern history professor Dr. Lori Clune.
Clune said on Saturday that the sale raised a total of $2,340.32. — $586 in book sales and $584.16 in donations.
She said an anonymous donor matched the amount raised. “The book sale was a huge success,” she said.
Callie Johnston, a history major, said she wanted to volunteer her time at the book sale because she feels the disaster in Puerto Rico is not getting the attention it deserves.
“They need a lot more help than they are getting considering they are U.S. citizens,” Johnston said.
She said people responded really well to the book sale. When Puerto Rico was mentioned, Johnston said people were immediately interested in buying books and donating more than the cost of their book haul.
By 2 p.m., three hours before the sale ended, López said hundreds of dollars had been raised. When books were purchased, López said oftentimes the buyers would donate the change.
López said before the sale began at 10 a.m., they had already raised hundreds of dollars from donors in the community. The pricing of the books was $1 for paperback and $2 for hardback books.
The funds raised will be given to the Hispanic Federation. López said she and Clune researched the federation’s history and found it to have a long-standing credible history in being fiscally responsible.
She said about 90 percent of what is given to the federation is donated directly to those in need.
López said the current condition of her homeland and how U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration have handled the outreach to help with resources has been heart-wrenching.
“I think the slowness of the response has been both heart-wrenching and infuriating,” López said. “But you know what has been incredibly heartening, is people, not the institutions, but people, have been incredibly responsive.”
She said she is moved by not only the aid of people in the continental U.S., but by Puerto Ricans helping fellow Puerto Ricans.
“It makes one think, ‘Yeah, we’re going to be OK,’” López said.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story says “Hurricane Irma.” This version correctly says “Hurricane Maria.”