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African Gala, Haitian Relief Benefit

Feb. 2, 2010 –The Black Student Union (BSU) and African American Programs at the University of Utah will host a one of a kind celebration and silent auction to kick-off Black History Month and serve as a benefit gala for their Haitian relief project.

The event will be held Saturday, February 6, 2010 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at the Officer’s Club at Fort Douglas, 150 South Fort Douglas Boulevard (Bldg 649). Tickets are $25 per person or $10 per student and may be obtained by calling the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs at 801-581-8151 at the University of Utah.

“We’re doing this event because it brings awareness about Black culture to the University of Utah and the community, while at the same time helping to support a country and people who need our assistance,” said Jenay Christy, a Black Student Union member and University of Utah student majoring in social work. Mike Thompson, a Black Student Union member and University of Utah student majoring in pre-pharmacy added, “It’s important to help when situations like this arise. These people are without basic needs. For me not to help in any way would be to turn my back on those in need.”

“The opportunity to give back and provide service to others is a major area of focus for our Black Student Union. After hearing about the earthquake in Haiti, our students were compelled to come together and try to make a difference,” said Betty Sawyer, BSU advisor and Academic Success coordinator for the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs at the University of Utah. “This is one of several projects that BSU has slated to support the Haitian relief efforts and we’re excited to have the support of the University and our fellow student groups.”

The gala will celebrate African and African American history and culture with an evening of traditional African drumming, dance, fashions and cuisine in addition to the silent auction. All proceeds will go to benefit the BSU Haitian relief project. In addition, two University of Utah athletes will be honored with the BSU “Spirit of Excellence: Strength through Adversity” award – University of Utah basketball team member, Jay Watkins, and football team member, Antoine “Shaky” Smithson.

For more information visit or call Betty Sawyer at 80-587- 9569.