Students unite to help Hurricane victims

It was standing-room only as more than 250 students packed the UC Ballrooms Tuesday to unite in their Hurricane Katrina Relief efforts. In a meeting organized by the Volunteer Services Center (VSC), Keith Fletcher, director of the VSC, facilitated an endeavor to coordinate all of the student organization ideas to put together larger, more organized hurricane relief events.

Fletcher stressed that all relief efforts and money collecting must be coordinated through the VSC in order to keep credibility of the events and prevent misuse of funds.

“We will tally it and give the appropriate credit to your event,” Fletcher said. “We don’t want the right hand to not know what the left hand is doing.”

All fundraising initiatives will be done through the University’s United Way Campaign. The University is asking that all checks be made out to either United Way or American Red Cross, with “Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund” written in the memo line.

The biggest push for relief will come on Sept. 30, which is now being called “Hurricane Relief Day.” The whole day will be dedicated to raising money for hurricane victims, beginning with a bake sale and cultural show and ending with ‘Canes Night Live.

“I was overwhelmed [by the meeting],” Javier Del Busto, president of the Association of Commuter Students [ACS], said. “There was a huge turnout. I’m very pleased with the fact that there’s a lot of sharp ideas and we’re heading at it from a lot of different angles.”

Students formed tentative committees at the end of the meeting, with ideas pouring forth from students, ranging from benefit concerts to teddy bear collections.

“A lot of kids lost everything and we’re hoping we can give them some sort of comfort,” King De, Hurricane Relief evening chair, said.

There was also talk of a possible Alternative Fall Break trip to the disaster sites to help with relief efforts. A talked-about trip to Mississippi or Louisiana this weekend will not be sponsored by the University.

For more information on how to get involved with the ongoing relief efforts, please call the VSC at 305-284-GIVE, email, or visit

Megha Garg can be contacted at