Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.
Illustration by Rachel Edelstein.

The number seven has never been so unlucky. With the fury of a 7.0 earthquake, the country of Haiti was left in complete devastation on Jan. 12. Buildings crumbled and thousands of bodies were left for dead beneath the rubble.

With the wide-eyed hopefulness for a new decade, we watched as one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere emerged out of the tragedy and extended its arms out for help. And since 80 percent of the country’s nine million residents live in poverty, help from all sides is no longer a question, but an ethical duty.

The 21st-century phenomenon of social networking has spread through the news like an electric current, shocking people around the globe with the quake’s horrific severity.

Facebook, Twitter and iPhone news applications have kept the masses constantly updated on the amount of people rescued, trapped and killed, not to mention news of looting, blocked seaports, and collapsed shantytowns.

By promoting its text-message campaign through social networking sites to raise relief money, the Red Cross has raised over $21 million thus far, shattering all records of any other previous mobile giving.

Besides the Red Cross, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, set up by former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, also allows cell phone users to send text-message donations. It’s a hopeful idea knowing that in times of crisis, even two opposite extremes of the political spectrum can come together to salvage a broken country.

The ability to utilize our social networking system in a way that can save thousands upon thousands of lives is a blessing that can connect Third and First World nations, and ultimately, save those thousands of lives within hours.

Although student fees have skyrocketed an extra 32.5 percent from last quarter, members of the University of California should still make a donation or travel abroad to help with relief efforts.

In wake of the crisis, the UC Office of the President reiterated that one of their insurance policies provides coverage to students and employees who travel to Haiti for official humanitarian relief and support organizations. Although students would have to purchase their own plane ticket, they should consider this insurance coverage an advantage and make the trip.

The crisis in Haiti deserves all of the help it can get.Granted, any help, whether via text message or from UC-funded volunteers, is needed and appreciated in disastrous times like these.

Regardless of student discomfort regarding the current fee hikes and spending reductions, the real terror and discomfort lies in Haiti at the moment. We as students need to take the time to help any way we can, whether it’s by sending out a $10 text donation or flying over there with help from the UC. Budget cuts are important but people’s lives are vital, and it is with this urgency that we must remember that as much as we need to help ourselves, we must always remember to help each other.