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Fair Trade Bazaar!

In December, we participated in the Fair Trade Bazaar at the Dutchess County Interfaith Council. The space was filled with vendors selling a variety of items from Rainsticks and Chocolate, along with excellent live music. Members of VHP participated to sell handcrafts, as well as to engage with the members of the Poughkeepsie community. It was a great bonding experience for those participating in the March trip to Haiti, as they worked together during second day of the Bazaar.
-Ayumi Haremaki ’20, Grants Director
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Leadership Retreat

On January 27th, we had our annual VHP Spring leadership retreat. The retreat was an excellent opportunity to come together again after the break apart and continue to strengthen our bond as a group, improve our way of operating, and prepare for the year ahead.

During the retreat, we were fortunate enough to be joined by VHP Alum Sahara Pradhan ’15 who led two workshops to help us identify and create solutions for aspects of VHP that could be improved. The workshops were a moment where we as a group could step back and examine the aspects of our operations that could be changed to allow for more cohesive and effective communication and teamwork. We also had the opportunity to continue a discussion on how the organization is perceived externally and how we speak about the project – a conversation that will definitely be continued in the future.

Coming out of the retreat I for one feel more excited than ever to not only continue our work for this semester but to continue to develop and improve how we operate within VHP to make achieving our goals even more possible.

-Eilif Rønning ’20, Student Development

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Tomorrow…

Tomorrow we will be having our Winter Leadership Retreat, where our Executive Board will meet to debrief fall semester and plan for winter/spring semester. We will also have some special guest appearances tomorrow!

Photo by Andrew Meade

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December Bonding Event

We had a VHP bonding event in early December. We aim to have one non-work related bonding event a month so that we can all recharge together, and this time around we decided a movie night with snacks would be the perfect break from final assignments stress. We were correct! Our events committee provided an assortment of goodies to snack on and boba tea to drink, while we watched Princess Diaries II. We settled in and spent a couple of hours watching Mia Thermopolis find her way to the throne of Genovia. It was a calming end to a very busy VHP semester ranging from weekly committee meetings to September Sale madness. As I look forward to all the great things we will accomplish in the coming semester, like the DC sale in February and Art & Soul in March, I’m also excited for all the future bonding events I will get to attend with my fellow VHPers.

– Kidus Girma ’18, Co-President

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We at the Vassar Haiti Project were shocked and disappointed to hear President Trump’s recent words disparaging the Haitian people. We take this moment to recognize the value of every human being in Haiti and in every other part of the world. Our mission seeks to raise awareness of Haitian culture and society in the US and everywhere. We proudly stand with Haiti, now and always.

Photo by Serena Lee ’18

 

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On Wednesday, November 8th, VHP held a General Body meeting during which each committee presented a “microtimeline”: what we have been up to this semester, and what is coming up for the rest of the semester or year. Each presenter was given 1-2 minutes to speak. After the microtimeline portion, we had an envelope stuffing party to prepare the end-of-year newsletters for the post.

This event was particularly exciting for me, because as Social Media Director I do not have the opportunity to see each committee’s work on a weekly basis. It was inspiring to watch as new GB members took the floor and spoke with confidence and pride about their committees. This GB meeting embodied VHP’s core values: it was a room filled with love, joy, and support. I am fortunate to be part of an organization of so many future leaders.

Most importantly, the apple cider provided was delicious. It was the perfect refreshment for the midpoint of a stressful academic week.

-written by Sophia Massie ’20, Social Media Director

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The Vassar Haiti Project was invited to exhibit at the annual National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals Conference (NAAHP) at New York University November 2-4th. While we were there, I met several amazing people, including a passionate neurosurgeon and the ambassador to Haiti. As a neuroscience and behavior major, I was most excited to meet Ernest Barthélemy, who is working on training more medical professionals in Haiti to become neurosurgeons. I never thought I could be a surgeon but after a conversation with Ernest where he passionately described one of his experiences in an operating room, that might change! Meeting him was truly inspiring. I am excited to begin building relationships with many of those we were fortunate enough to meet at the conference and am grateful to the NAAHP for inviting us.
-Written by Gabriela Mandeville, Director of the Health Committee
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On November 4th, the Vassar Haiti Project joined many other Vassar organizations at the Night Market (an annual event hosted by the Asian Students Alliance where each organization sets up a table selling various kinds of food). Participating in the Night Market is always a great opportunity not only to bond as VHP members, but also to get to know other organizations and get involved in the greater Vassar community.

Before the event, VHP members gathered to prepare the food that was going to be sold. We chopped piles of cabbage, cooked vermicelli, mixed dipping sauces, pan-fried tofu, filled and boiled dumplings, sautéed shrimp, and steamed buns—all in four and a half hours! All of that cooking was then brought down to the main event where even more wonderful VHP volunteers sold our homemade dumplings, hand rolled summer rolls, and freshly steamed buns (the last of which sold out in just twenty minutes!)

Although the night market was definitely a success in terms of profit, more importantly we came together as an organization and made a very large amount of work (you should have seen all the cabbage we chopped!) go by quickly and easily. In fact, every time VHP puts on an event—whether it’s a large, off-campus art sale or single-table booth at a night market—I’m always blown away to see how many VHPers are happy to step up and make it happen!

-Written by Lindsey Coffee-Johnson, Co-VP of Events

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What Does VHP Mean to You?

I think VHP is a bridge between ideal/perfect society and action/practice. There were times I thought about digging a well, building a library and opening a clinic in less developed country. The thoughts ended in my mind without making any actual efforts. VHP shows me the organized way to achieve such goals, and I can’t wait to really contribute! Personally, it’s more like a group filled with people with kind minds and great ideas. Though we are doing serious and difficult tasks, the happiness spending time with VHP’ers always make the process more fun.

-Annabell Su

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What Does VHP Mean To You?

I just joined VHP this year, but so far I’ve come to love the sense of community and purpose in this org. I think VHP is a great way to give back to the international community, which is something I feel very strongly about as an international student. Additionally, while there are many community service projects on campus, I find that the work I do at VHP does make an impact; occasionally in other orgs I feel removed from the people I am helping, but VHP offers volunteers the chance to really see the fruits of their labor with the March trip.
-Violet Tan
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