Wyclef inspires students to help Haiti

Wyclef Jean is doing his part to help with the Haiti relief efforts.

Jean, a Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist and producer, spoke to university students on behalf of his non-profit foundation, Yele Haiti on Feb. 18.

Jean, who was born in Haiti, founded the organization in 2005 to help the nation move forward on a long-term basis. Yele Haiti is centered around a series of projects designed to boost the country’s economy and government while helping to support its people.

Recently, the organization has become involved in the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January.

Jean’s visit to St. John’s centered around encouraging students to not only get involved in the relief efforts, but in continuing to help Haiti grow as a nation.

In a press conference prior to the event, Jean said that young people, including students, could be the key to rebuilding Haiti and creating a better global society.

“Revolution always starts with the youth,” he said. “We can only go in one direction right now – Haiti is going to be rebuilt.”

When asked if he was worried about the supply of aid slipping away and Haiti falling back into it’s old patterns, Jean spoke of the need for long-term projects and goals.

“We don’t only want it to sustain, we want it to last,” he said. “We have to think past sustainability and into the future.”

Students gathered in Carnesecca Arena to hear Jean speak, with many Haitian students shouting out Creole phrases in support of their national hero.

During the speech, Jean also spoke about the history of Haiti, how it has developed over the years and what it was like to grow up there. He stressed to students the importance of getting involved and taking action, not just in Haiti but around the world.

Students said they were motivated by Jean’s words, with many signing up to volunteer for Yele Haiti.

“I know Haitians that were affected so there was definitely a personal touch to it,” said Ellen Beebe, a junior. “It’s great to see a celebrity caring about something so deeply and doing so much.”