U.Va. Engineering Faculty and Students 'Engineer' Haiti Relief Event Saturday

January 21, 2010 — Lisa Colosi and Andres Clarens, engineering professors at the University of Virginia, had plenty going on already, what with the publication of an important paper about their research into algae as a source of biofuel and the start of spring semester.

But they didn't hesitate to spearhead an event this Saturday to raise money for earthquake-stricken Haiti. 'Hoos for Haiti and Cvillian Relief will sponsor a concert starting at 6 p.m. Saturday at Fry's Spring Beach Club.

Colosi, Clarens and Clarens' wife, Kristin Cleary-Clarens, launched their effort last week. "Kristin is an attorney whose work has an international focus," Colosi said. "Andres has been in the Peace Corps, and our focus in engineering is on sustainability, foreign development, water and sanitation."

They tried the idea of a concert on an Engineering School colleague, Jim Smith, who plays in a band called 180. He not only thought it was a great idea, he signed on to the program. Four other bands, including the ACME Swing Manufacturing Company, are scheduled to perform. Chris Munson of 20 South Productions helped arrange the venue and recruit the bands.

One of Clarens' students, Kate Villars, a fourth-year student in civil and environmental engineering, is president of Engineering Students Without Borders. She pitched in to recruit students to work the event, Colosi said.

Proceeds will benefit two organizations, Partners in Health and GHESKIO.

Boston-based Partners in Health [link to: http://www.standwithhaiti.org/haiti] is an international relief agency that has served the poorest communities in Haiti for more than 25 years. "They can mobilize really well," Colosi said.

Rebecca Dillingham, associate director of the Center for Global Health in U.Va.'s School of Medicine, works with GHESKIO, a French acronym for the Haitian Group for the Study of Kaposi's Sarcoma and Opportunistic Infections. "She's going down to Haiti quite soon," Colosi said.

The concert is open to all ages. Advance admission is $15 per person in the form of a donation to Partners in Health. Bring your donation receipt and photo ID to the door to be admitted. Tickets can be purchased in person at two Charlottesville businesses, the Blue Ridge Eco Shop, 923 Preston Ave., and Beer Run, 156 Carlton Road.

Tickets at the door will be $20. Children under 12 will be admitted free.

A silent auction featuring donations from local businesses will be held as part of the fundraiser.

For information, visit Cvillian Relief or e-mail info@cvillianrelief.org.

— By Marian Anderfuren