The natural disasters the world has recently experienced, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, have left many students wanting to help, but not knowing where to begin. Student leaders involved with eleven of JMU’s student organizations came together and jumped into action in order to have a direct hand in the relief effortand you can be a part of it, too.

Students from University Program Board, Black Student Alliance, JMU NAACP student chapter, International Student Alliance, Student Government Association, College Democrats, Madison Equality, Bare Naked Ladies, Campus Assault ResponsE (CARE), Korean Student Association, Chinese Student Association, as well as community members from local Harrisonburg group VOICE, joined forces to plan the Pitch-in Benefit Concert for Victims of Recent Natural Disaster to be held Saturday, September 30th, 2017. Members of these organizations have been taking time out of their busy schedules to meet twice weekly since planning began, and their hard work resulted in JMU granting them the opportunity to fundraise at an event of this kind for the first time since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. These Dukes embody the spirit of JMU’s core values: they are true models of educated, enlightened, and engaged citizens.

Pitch-in Benefit Concert for Victims of Recent Natural Disasters

Saturday, September 30th, 7:00-9:00pm in the Wilson Hall auditorium

Tickets are free, and can be reserved online. Donations are encouraged, and will be accepted at the event via cash, check, or credit card. 100% of the money raised will be donated to the United Way, which will divide donations between funds for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the recent earthquakes in Mexico, and the wildfires on the US west coast. The money raised will be sent to the hardest-hit areas, and will go towards materials most needed at this time. Tax receipts will be available. If you cannot attend the concert, but would still like to contribute, please visit the United Way of Harrisonburg’s website to donate online. Include “Pitch in” in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

JMU students and Harrisonburg community members are invited to enjoy performances from a cappella and dance groups from JMU and the Harrisonburg area. A cappella groups appearing include Exit 245, Madison Project, Notoriety, Rescored, Low Key, Overtones, Unaccompanied, VOICE, Harrisonburg Harmonizers, Vintage Mix, and Desperate Measures; dance groups include JMU Bhangra, and Mosaic Dance Team.

I had the opportunity to speak with some of the leaders who spearheaded the benefit concert. Here’s what they had to say about the event:

President of the Black Student Alliance, Mecca Baker, encourages students to show their support for the victims of recent natural disasters.

“I would like JMU students to realize that this is the time to come together as Dukes, and support those deeply affected by tragedy!”

According to the president of CARE, Lauren Hughes,

“We decided that a benefit concert would be the best way to fundraise because we wanted a fun way to draw attention to a serious issue. Music is also a great way to unite people and we wanted the entire Harrisonburg community to be able to come together for a greater good.”

Haiyang “Jeff” Wang, president of the Chinese Student Association especially appreciated that many diverse student groups were able to collaborate in planning the concert. He added,

“I think the music could not only relieve sadness from people and bring hope, but also we want to use the melody to transmit our sympathy and love… This is just amazing to see how united we are! Let’s go Dukes!”


The Daily Duke team would like to extend a special thank you to Mecca Baker, Alex Grant, Grant Summers, Alexus Jones, Lauren Hughes, Haiyang “Jeff” Wang, Aurora Greenan, Abby Jatmoko, Arissa Gazda, Damon Hayes, Joanie Nguyen, Giuliana Luna, Samantha Cantrell, Aloha Backenstose, Samantha Lane, and Misty Newman, as well as Paula Lam from University Unions, for their commitment to seeing this project through. Thank you for working so hard to create an event which will unite our community and make a difference around the world.

For further information about the benefit concert, please reach out to with questions.


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