I don't think I've had a unique experience when I say that I joined VHP freshman year because it is comprised of entirely wonderful people—and despite the fact that I knew almost nothing about what VHP did. After joining the education committee and taking part in various art sales, however, I gained both a better picture of all that VHP does and an even greater appreciation for those who make up the community.
I am constantly motivated by all of the people who give incredible amounts of time, dedication, and energy to everything they do for VHP. I see this at every event VHP puts on: not only is everyone willing to help at the smallest suggestion that something needs doing, but there is an enthusiasm and genuine desire to contribute that makes working events incredibly rewarding.
The community that makes up VHP has such a talent for making people feel welcome, valuable, and included—and I’m very grateful to be a part of that.
Vice President of Merchandise | Class of 2019
The artworks - those beautiful items are what drew me to the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP). But after two years of being a volunteer and a student leader, I have come to cherish the value and purpose of VHP much more. The project is an important one to me because of the nature of its cause - sustainable development through partnership, and because of the opportunity availed to students like myself to be a major part of that.
What I am learning from older adults on the board and fellow students as we plan and execute art sale, events, exchange ideas and grow with each other are the ethics of service, the essence of partnerships, and the need to 'be' impactful. I have also been privileged to be educated by the people in Chermaitre after going on the 2017 March Trip. That enabled me to view the project more holistically.
I am playing the role of a small piece in VHP's puzzle, and I can play that role while I have fun and enjoy the work, challenge myself, share what I have and know and take major steps towards our goals as an organization. As the Vice-President for Merchandise this year, while I continue to enjoy the art and be part of this beautiful project, I'm glad I can continue to take these steps ti pa ti pa.
Co-President | Class of 2018
Hi! My name is Kidus Girma and this will be my fourth year in the Vassar Haiti Project (VHP). I honestly cannot believe it has been this many years already, and I’m deeply excited for the coming year. I joined VHP during my First year through the Education Initiative and I’ve had the chance to grow in so many ways! I’ve enjoyed VHP because it has given me the opportunity to truly contribute to something larger than myself. Rarely are college students given the chance to play such a rewarding and important role in an organization. VHP has given me the freedom to think of something and “own it.”
I believe this space couple with the guidance of Lila and Andrew allows us the most fruitful partnership with the people of Chermaitre. I’m excited and hopeful to see what we can achieve in the future and I look forward to another year as President of such a wonderful organization.
Environment Initiative Co-Director | Class of 2018
Grants Director | Class of 2020
VHP was first introduced to me through a poster I saw during Freshman orientation, and I was immediately drawn to the work it does. Last year, I joined the grants committee because I wanted to learn about non-profit work. In the year that I have been a part of VHP, I have learned so much more than grant writing. It has provided me the opportunity to meet people from all over campus, and all over the northeast, how to run an art sale, and most importantly, how to communicate with others, whether it be here on campus, or with our partners in Haiti. I’m looking forward to another wonderful year of hard work and fun!
Co-President | Class of 2018
As a premed student, I was naturally "roped in" Vassar Haiti Project after I heard about the Health Initiative from a friend in my freshman year. Ever since, I've been actively participating in all sorts of initiative meetings and soon enough running around at art sales with the rest of the VHPers. The school year from 2015-2016 I served as the Women's Health Coordinator and had the privilege of going to Haiti to meet our incredible partners. Spring 2017 I took on the role of VP of Internal Events. For this school year of 2017-2018, I will be serving as Co-President of VHP, overseeing the Health Initiative, Environmental Initiatives and Social Media. I'm particularly interested in educating my fellow students so that they may be better equipped as global citizens and create better sustainability of the project. For my final year, I hope I can give back to the people in Haiti as well as the people here in the U.S. who have generously taught me genuity, compassion and wisdom.
Co-Vice President of Events | Class of 2019
I have been involved in VHP since the very beginning of my Vassar life. I am glad that I could continue serving as one of the co-presidents in Events. I love event-building and working with great people to make the art sales happen. With the generous support of many ‘VHPers’, our partners and friends, we have hold art sales at Vassar, in Greenwich, NYC, DC, Sag Harbor and many other places. March 2016, I travelled to Chermaitre, Haiti with several other ‘VHPers’ and did an independent studies at Vassar about the history of Haiti and the politics of NGOs in Haiti. The trip was an amazing and critical experience for me. VHP becomes colorful, tangible and more meaningful as we met with our Haitian friends and had conversations.
VHP creates a space for me to think, learn, care and connect. It pushes me to reflect critically on the nature and work of an NGO and the ethics of the so-called "humanitarianism," relationship between human beings, and the current international relations and orders. VHP also helped me learn to connect with interesting people and think for others. I am grateful to have the chance to be a part of this loving, energetic and thoughtful community/family!
Health Initiative Director | Class of 2019
I first joined the Vassar Haiti Project after attending the September Sale on campus my freshman year. As a pre-med student, I was drawn to join the Health Initiative. Over the course of the year, my love for VHP and Chermaitre grew. I decided to apply to go on the March trip to Haiti my sophomore year. The trip allowed me to connect with Chermaitre and Haiti on a deeper level, increasing my passion for VHP’s projects and my desire to make a small difference in the community of Chermaitre. After hearing about the clinic for almost two years, being able to see it in person and meet the incredible clinic staff was inspiring. It felt like something that I did not know that I was missing in my experience with VHP, had finally clicked into place. This upcoming academic year, I am honored and excited to be the newest Director of the Health Initiative. I look forward to continuing to improve the medical care available to Chermaitre and its surrounding area.
Treasurer | Class of 2020
Environment Initiative Co-Director | Class of 2020
Hello there! I am the co-director of the Environment Initiative which includes reforestation and water rehibilitation. I am a neuroscience major and a prospect hispanic studies minor. I joined the Vassar Haiti Project after I went to the September sale with my family during my freshman year. I instantly was surrounded by welcoming hellos, joyous laughs and contagious smiles. I knew I wanted to belong in a community that had so much love.
I was one of the lucky few who spent 10 days in Haiti during my Spring Break. I realized the impact Vassar Haiti Project had on the village of Chermaitre and the infinite knowledge I would learn from the people there. I have since realized that love is the foundation of the Vassar Haiti Project.
Education Initiative Director | Class of 2020
The Vassar Haiti Project was the very first club I joined at Vassar- and I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with the mission and people. Following the introductory club meeting, I tried to join all 9 initiatives. Sadly school work eliminated that possibility, but nonetheless I pursued the Education and Grants committees. Hoping to become more involved with the project, I applied to go on the March trip to Haiti- and was lucky enough to go as an Education representative.
I joined the Haiti project because I loved the idea of it. Next year I’ll continue it as a VP because of the school children, the artists, and the students who comprise VHP- especially my fellow trippers. VHP is easily the most diverse student group on campus and continues to amaze me with their dedication and care for the Haitian People. VHP has further inspired me to design my own major in Human Rights and Social Change and gives me the means to every day.
Vice President of Student Development | Class of 2020