What’s in a benefit’s name?

By Staff Editorial

In the wake of destruction after the earthquake in Haiti, people all over the world are starting to wake up. The movement to help the people of Haiti has been swift, and there’s no exception here at Oakland University.

January 20, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., students organizations from OU will join together in efforts to host a benefit concert for the victims of the earthquake. It will broadcast live on WXOU Radio throughout the day and night.

Many will agree that these efforts are impressive and important. Student Body Vice President Saman Waquad has her own column featured this week on oaklandpostonline.com stressing the significance of supporting those in need.

But whispers of discontent have been spreading about one particular aspect of the 12-hour event.

What could be controversial about a benefit concert? To some, its name. “Haiti-Palooza!” is the moniker the event organizers decided to use.

Those who are unhappy with the name find it offensive and say that it downplays the severity of what’s happened in Haiti.

The Post asked one of the event organizers, WXOU General Manager Erik Anderson, about his thoughts on the title Haiti-Palooza!

“Palooza is generally defined as a party, event, or festival that no one will forget. Clearly we are having a memorable event that’s never been attempted in the school’s history to raise money for the vitims in Haiti, and not some crazy bachelor party,” Anderson said.

No bachelor party indeed.

We’d like to pose a question. Which is more inappropriate: A tongue-in-cheek approach to a difficult situation, or taking the time to insult an event raising money to save lives?

Anderson also said that he’s received positive feedback and that the unique name is what has gotten some students interested in attending.

To some, the coolest part about Haiti-Palooza! is that OU students beat George Clooney in the race to host a benefit concert (Clooney’s isn’t until Saturday).

When destruction like this occurs in the world, people can’t help but ask, “Why?” We’re not buying religious leader Pat Robertson’s explanation of Haitians’ pact with the devil causing the downfall of Haiti. (We’re also not buying his retraction and further explanation that he confused “Haiti” with “Hades” as The Huffington Post reports.)

The truth is, there is rarely an acceptable reason for why these things happen.

In this case, one of the biggest reasons this occured is because the buildings in Haiti were not equipped to handle the force of mother nature.

It’s an understatement to say it’s unfortunate when already impoverished nations face even more turmoil. While we certainly have our own share of problems here in America, we need to continue to extend our hands in help and aid to those in need.

Despite the devastation that has happened in Haiti, we should use this as an opportunity. For lack of a better cliché, every cloud has a silver lining, and as dim as the light is right now, we can find that silver shimmer. This is our call to action to help. Haiti-Palooza! is the perfect chance for students to get involved and help pay it forward.

And who says we’re not allowed to have a little fun while we’re at it? There’s no rule book that says benefit concerts are meant to be boring — in fact, that sounds like a perfect way to turn away people. Even though Haiti-Palooza! may not be the classiest of names, it does sound like a good time and a great way to help those who need it most.

As Anderson put it: “If the name is the biggest problem we have during this event, then I’d say the event was wildy successful.”