by Kyle Burgess ’21
This past Wednesday, January 29, members of the Providence College community came together in support of the people and wildlife of Australia. For the past several months, Australia has found itself under siege by wildfires ravaging the countryside and inflicting widespread damage to the infrastructure and landscape.
As firefighters from Australia and abroad continue to battle the blazes, the country has received massive amounts of financial aid from across the globe to continue waging its war against the encroaching flames. Despite the over-10,000-mile distance between themselves and the Land Down Under, both Claire Woods ’21 and Hannah Valente ’20 felt the need to give back to the place they called home for six weeks this past summer.
“Claire and I were lucky enough to spend six weeks in Sydney, Australia as Smith Fellows,” Valente explained. “Both of us stayed with host families who were so incredible. When we heard about the bush fires, we both agreed that we could not stand back and not do anything.”
In addition to reaching out to local businesses in Providence for donations, the duo felt that an on-campus fundraising event would also help in spreading awareness about the fires. They reached out to the men’s, women’s, and coed a capella groups to give performances while students enjoyed catering from Flatbread Company, Chick-fil-A, Knead Donuts, and more.
“The night exceeded every expectation I had,” revealed Valente. “I am so overjoyed at the love of the Providence community for Australia and their willingness to help.”
All donations made during the course of the night will go to the Australia Red Cross in their efforts to continue fighting the wildfires that continue to rage.