A plethora of student performances in Campbell Hall on Sunday helped raise money for Gulf Coast hurricane victims as part of a talent show hosted by student group Helping Everyone Live Peacefully (HELP).
About 200 people attended the afternoon event, which raised $1,600 for the Nola Hurricane Fund. Students from Tulane University in Louisiana organized the fund earlier this fall to assist relief efforts.
Nola Hurricane Fund organizers hope to eventually raise $100,000 for a community center in Louisiana that would be used to help local students get back on track for school, said Darcy Kahn, HELP member and a second-year global studies major. Nearly $60,000 has been raised so far, but in the meantime, students are helping build houses and distributing supplies to hurricane victims.
Daniella Elghanayan, a second-year communication major and HELP co-founder, said she thinks the talent show gathered substantial support from local community members.
“The show was amazing,” Elghanayan said. “We [also] received a lot of donations from people who couldn’t make it.”
In addition to the tickets sales, Elghanayan said, HELP also sold 160 raffle tickets. Local businesses including Hempwise, Silvergreens, Sam’s To Go, Pascucci and Starbucks donated raffle prizes such as gift certificates or store products.
The Skyline Dance Team, a campus ballroom dance team, the Improvability comedy troupe and the the UCSB Dance Company performed at the show. Also included were bands the Waking Moments, Rebelution, ToneDown, Brothas from Otha Mothas (BFOM) and two solo guitarists. Faculty member Ottiliana Rolandsson from the Dramatic Arts Dept. performed the monologue, “I was Greta Garbo.”
Jodi Foeifhman, a second-year psychology major and HELP co-founder, said she thinks the show was a fun and easy way for students to contribute to hurricane relief efforts.
“We wanted to be able to provide students with the opportunity to give back to the community,” Foeifhman said. “A ton of work and effort has gone into [this].”
Kahn said the show also served as a reminder that hurricane relief efforts are ongoing.
“A lot of people don’t realize that [the hurricane] is still a big issue,” Kahn said. “There’s a large amount of the student body that wants to help.”
Elghanayan said HELP advertised for spaces in the talent show through word of mouth and by talking with friends of the various performance groups’ members. The group received so much interest to perform in the show that it had to turn acts down, she said.
Haig Schirinian, a third-year music major and member of Waking Moments, said his band was eager to join HELP and support hurricane relief efforts.
“We got to play music for a really good cause,” Schirinian said. “It was like a two-in-one bonus special.”
Isaac Jacobs-Gomes, a fourth-year English major and member of ToneDown, said his group saw the talent show performance as not only helping a good cause, but also as a chance to display some of its music.
“[The talent show] is for a really good cause and, more selfishly, we thought it would be a good loose format to showcase some of our music,” Jacobs-Gomes said.
Foeifhman said HELP members want to organize a relief effort project every quarter, whether it involves putting on a big event or organizing joint programs with other student groups.
Elghanayan said she thinks the talent show could become a staple method of fundraising for HELP.
“We definitely think this is something we can pull off every year,” Elghanayan said.