Nearly a month after Hurricane Katrina hit and devastated the Gulf Coast states, relief efforts at the University are still in full swing. The University-wide effort, sponsored by various student groups and organized by the Butler Volunteer Services Center, reaches its highest point today on Hurricane Relief Day.
Hurricane Relief Day has been in planning since student groups and organizations on campus held a meeting on Sept. 6 to unite all on-campus efforts into larger, more organized events. Since then, funds have been collected for United Way through individual donations as well as larger scale efforts.
“It is amazing to see a number of focused, passionate student leaders coming together for a cause and ready to do what it takes to make this happen,” Keith Fletcher, director of the Butler volunteer services center, said. “It is a special place when you don’t have to work to make students care and don’t have to challenge them to want to make a difference.”
Relief efforts have been seen in all aspects of University life. Students and faculty purchased game day T-shirts, which are usually distributed free, for $2 donations, and volunteers collected donations in buckets during the Sept. 24 football game. Swensen’s restaurant donated a portion of their proceeds on the evening of Sept. 17, Gameworks at Sunset Place dedicated a night to raising funds on Sept. 23, and the Frost School of Music Held a concert on Sunday to benefit hurricane victims. Student groups on campus also got involved by collecting money at meetings, selling food in the breezeway or by selling henna tattoos like the Hindu Students Association.
“[The students’] commitment to this issue, amid all their other obligations, has been a tribute to the quality of student leadership on this campus,” Fletcher said.
During the Orange Bowl collection alone, $10,528.63 were collected. Initially, students had set the goal of $25,000 to be raised for hurricane relief. However, with more than 1,200 students involved, that goal has been met and is being increased to $35,000.
Hurricane Relief Day will consist of an open mic event presented by the Screaming Monkeys, where spoken word performers collect funds from sponsors, a bake sale sponsored COISO and the Pan-Hellenic Honor Society, an international bake sale, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon dunk tank and free dinners from the Big Cheese.
“There are countless amounts of people who need help right now and it just does not seem right to go along with our lives as if nothing happened,” Elizabeth Dy, president of Screaming Monkeys, said. “The hurricanes could have hit our community much harder. If it had, I would hope others would want to help us out.”
At night there will also be a Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert, a ‘Canes Night Live Comedian at the Rat and a date auction at the Storm Surge, where dates with Student Government President Pete Maki, Speaker Paty Escuder and Chief Justice Annette Ponnock will be auctioned off to collect funds.
“I was once auctioned off and it was a very awkward date,” Maki said. “I knew it was going to be going into it. I’m hoping the girl of my dreams buys me.”
All money will be donated through United Way and will go directly to their hurricane relief fund.
Natalia Maldonado can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.