Sep 152005
Authors: Joanna Thomas

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed areas along the Gulf Coast, students at CSU have risen to the cause and helped provide relief to the victims.

Jen Johnson, assistant director of volunteer and community programs at the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement (SLCE), said students are getting involved and helping out however they can.

"The enthusiasm is amazing; people who normally do nothing are choosing to do something," she said.

Johnson said many student organizations are getting involved.

"Generally people have been getting creative in raising money," Johnson said.

In the residence halls, resident assistants headed up a program called "Trash 4 Cash," where RAs went door-to-door and asked for a monetary donation in exchange for taking out residents' trash. Braiden, Corbett, Edwards, Parmalee and Newsom halls raised $2,292.

Most student organizations have sought matching funds from recipients like the Gay and Lesbian Fund, who announced a $1 million matching grant to the American Red Cross. The grant will match individual donations from Coloradans up to $250, doubling the effect of every donation. (CQ- Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross) With the matching donation by the Gay and Lesbian Fund the total donations from the residence halls will be $4,584.

The Associate Students of CSU, who organized a donation table on the Plaza, similarly sought matching donations from donors.

Jon Muller, vice president of ASCSU, said ASCSU has been out on the Plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. collecting donations for four different organizations. Different student organizations have adopt-a-days, where they can take over the donation table for a while, he said.

"I heard we average about $100 a day," Muller said.

He said student groups are typically not allowed to collect money on the Plaza, but some were given special permission.

"Given the nature of the Katrina disaster, it was okay this time," Muller said.

While the SLCE office encourages students to provide and seek monetary donations to offset the cost of shipping, Johnson reminds students there are other ways to donate than just money.

"Another important way to help is by volunteering," Johnson said.

Johnson said the American Red Cross is looking for 40,000 new volunteers all over the country to work for two weeks in the areas hardest hit.

She suggested another way to help was by donating blood.

Bonfils Blood Center hosted a CSU Campus Blood Drive Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

McKenna Wright, a sophomore biology major, said there is definitely a higher need for blood because of the hurricane. She said the reason she donated was not directly linked to the hurricane, but the need for blood in general.

"If I was in a wreck, I would want someone else to help save my life," Wright said.

Muller said he is impressed by the number of students and organizations that are getting involved and helping out.

"There has been a great outpour from the majority of students," Muller said.

He said there is a good amount of variety in how donations are being made, but joining all the different student causes would make the overall CSU effort more successful.

To do so, the SLCE office and Johnson ask all student organizations that still wish to help or to learn how much CSU as a whole has collected to contact her at 491-2955.

"It's great that so many people are getting involved and helping out however they can, from taking out trash to collecting donations. It really speaks to people about generosity and caring for others," Johnson said.


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