Letter to the Editor: The Molly Hightower Day of Service

By Alex Peterson | March 20, 2018 10:32am
Pictured: Alex Peterson. Photo courtesy of Alex Peterson.

Molly Hightower graduated from the University of Portland in 2009 with a triple major in sociology, psychology and French with plans to pursue a master's degree in special education. But first, compelled by her passion for service, Molly chose to spend a year in Haiti volunteering with the Friends of the Orphans. During her time there, Molly provided care and comfort to Haitian children that had been orphaned, abandoned and who were often physically disabled. 

Around the midpoint of her service, Molly briefly visited friends and family at home in December of 2009, before returning to spend Christmas and New Year’s at the orphanage. On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Early in the morning on January 15, Molly's body was found among the rubble of the apartment building where she had been living in Petion-Ville. 

In remembrance of Molly's life, service and passion for helping others, the Associated Students of the University of Portland decided to enact the Molly Hightower Day of Service in the spring of 2010. Each semester since, the ASUP Senate and Executive Board have set aside a designated day to give back to our community in Molly's brave example. 

This semester, we are inviting the entire campus community to join in as well. 

On Saturday, April 14, students, faculty, staff, and neighbors will gather in the Academic Quad to participate in the University of Portland Relay for Life. Our goal is to raise a combined total of $10,000 for the American Cancer Society to help end the fight against cancer once and for all. To read more about how this deeply impactful event works, including how to start a team with your club, team or group of friends, please visit the event webpage:  www.relayforlife.org/upor

According to the National Cancer Institute, just under 40 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, but the damage and heartbreak caused by these diseases is truly immeasurable. Join us on April 14 to remember those loved ones we have lost, to support those still fighting and to recognize those who have kept the hope alive every step of the way.

Alex Peterson is a junior Finance major and ASUP speaker of the senate. He can be reached at petersal19@up.edu.