Students gathered on the steps of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art on Friday night in honor of the victims of typhoon Haiyan, which ravaged the Philippines several weeks ago. Over 5,000 people were killed in the tropical storm, which slammed the country on November 8. Thousands are injured and missing, and millions of homes were destroyed.
Students from Slam Poetry and Green Bowdoin Alliance led the vigil, organized by Jennings Leavell ’17. It included readings, guitar performances and a moment of silence by candlelight. Catalina Gallagher ’16 performed a poem describing the experience of the storm’s victims. “People learn to live to accept the damage and loss of property. They feel it’s normal to have their streets full of standing water. Still, Mother Nature tests their will to live, with earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons,” she read.
The gathering also sought to highlight the role that climate change plays in creating super storms like Haiyan. Green Bowdoin Alliance is participating in the global movement “Stop the Madness,” inspired by Yep Sano, the Filipino delegate at the U.N. Climate Change Summit. Sano promised to fast throughout the conference in order to raise awareness for the damage that climate change wreaks on developing nations like the Philippines, and to advocate for more effective climate change policy.
Ian Kline ’15 of the Green Alliance asked for students to back the movement. “Just showing your support for [Stop the Madness] shows that you care about what’s happening,” he said.
Kline continued on a more personal note, citing his own family’s experience. They currently reside in Taiwan, which experienced some of Haiyan’s winds, although nowhere near as severely as the Philippines. “If Taipei could have felt that from this typhoon I can only imagine what happened in the Philippines. The fact that this is becoming a more frequent event is just so saddening,” he added.
Elsewhere on campus, the Asian Student Association partnered with Oxfam Bowdoin to raise money to help the rescue effort in the Philippines. Last week, the students set up a table in Smith Union with a jar to collect donations, and then did the same over the weekend at the hockey games.