|To contact S.A.V.E., e-mail at SAVE_Katrina@yahoo.com|
When the worst comes to some, the best comes from others. In the United States, the worst came in the form of Hurricane Katrina; at CSU, the best comes in the form of S.A.V.E.
Students Assisting Victims and Evacuees (S.A.V.E.), a new, student-managed organization focused on providing relief for victims of national disasters, was officially recognized this week.
"So many times you can take a stationary position on something – you see it on TV and you feel kind of helpless," said Delijah Shead (CQ)cm, senior psychology major and S.A.V.E. co-president. "(S.A.V.E.) is allowing an opportunity to fulfill that by finding things that we can do as students to help.
"It's a responsibility for anyone of privilege to try and help…Even if a handful of people give time, it could mean so much more than you could ever realize."
The idea for S.A.V.E. arose at the beginning of September in response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Through its goals of increasing student awareness, fundraising and providing volunteer opportunities, the organization aims to give 100 percent of its profits and energy to natural disaster relief charities.
"Hurricane Katrina was really an eye-opener for America about natural disasters because sometimes we think that we're invincible," said Nicole Easley (CQ)cm, senior microbiology major and S.A.V.E. co-president. "It just really makes you think that you should do something. No one realized that we were that vulnerable to natural disasters and that was a real eye-opener for me."
Concentrating on one charity a semester, S.A.V.E. is currently working to benefit the Federal TRIO Programs. According to the U.S. Department of Education Web site, TRIO is an education outreach program targeted to assist low-income students, or those with disabilities, reach their higher education goals.
TRIO also has a hurricane fund donating 100 percent of its profits to relief. Like TRIO's overall purpose, the hurricane relief fund is concentrated toward low-income, college-bound students as well.
Shead said a lot of research was put into choosing which charity to work with and a prime attraction of TRIO was its "goals coincide with what (S.A.V.E.) wants to see reformed."
An all-day bake sale Friday at the Flea Market is the first fundraiser. A second southern-style bake sale is scheduled for Nov. 7 to 9, boasting products like sweet potato pie and peach cobbler.
S.A.V.E. also takes advantage of the holiday season by co-hosting a Halloween roller skating party Sunday with the National Society of Black Engineers. From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Roller Land, the party has a $4 admission fee, $1 costume contest entry fee and offers prizes and a costume contest.
"The programs we're going to be doing are tailored toward our campus community and getting everyone involved and active," Shead said. "We'll be raising that awareness, but allowing there to be time for fun."
S.A.V.E. looks for different volunteer and fundraising opportunities both locally and statewide. In the near future, the members plan on traveling to Denver to sort donated goods for relocated evacuees and possibly volunteering with soup kitchens, open door missions and metro volunteers in Denver.
The members also hope to find partnerships through other campus groups and sponsors from local businesses.
"I am just really excited … and was so happy I found something I could be a part of," said Jessica May (CQ)cm, a sophomore cellular molecular biology major. "I just want to help out and do something about what's going on instead of just sitting around and waiting for someone else to."
While the organization currently focuses on national natural disasters, it is not nationally inhibited. Easley hopes to expand the organization's depth to include any local and global natural disasters, depending on necessity and resource accessibility.
"We're all people living in this world together and a lot of people may not believe it, but when one person is struggling it has an effect on another, and when a lot of people are struggling we all have to work harder," Shead said. "I just want to see (S.A.V.E) grow.
"I want to see it be a place where people go and get motivated to pick up the torch – and not just pick it up, but run with it and set some other people on fire."