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BARD COLLEGE COMMUNITY MOBILIZES TO HELP HURRICANE KATRINA VICTIMS
Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Bard College community has mobilized to help the victims and evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. At an emergency meeting called in response to the disaster that has devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region, Dean of Students Erin Cannan, Matt Wing ’06, and Stephen Tremaine ’07 informed Bard community members of College and student initiatives in Katrina relief efforts, focusing on the need for both immediate action and long-term aid. Joining other academic institutions nationwide, Bard College has offered visiting student status to displaced undergraduates from Gulf Coast colleges affected by Katrina. Three students from Loyola University and one from the University of New Orleans have arrived at Bard as visiting students and are living on campus this semester. Tuition has been waived for the incoming students.
An ongoing drive for clothing, food, and supplies yielded 96 bags of clothes on its first day and 135 bags to date. Chaplain Paul Murray and the Bard community have coordinated their efforts with the Hudson Valley chapter of the United Religions Initiative to ship collected items to Houston. The drop-off site in the Old Gym on Bard campus will continue to accept donations as long as they are needed. Essential items are requested: clothing; disposable diapers; games and toys; school supplies; sheets and blankets; paper goods such as plates, cups, and tissues; cleaning supplies; single serving snacks and cereal bars; peanut butter; heat-and-eat foods like chili and stew; canned foods; household tools; and toiletries.
Student fund-raising efforts, which include a donation table in the campus center, spare change cans around campus, a raffle, bake sales, and an all-night benefit concert have raised more than $7,400 over the past week. Stephen Tremaine, a junior from New Orleans who is leading these initiatives, has scheduled student volunteers to work the clothing/food drive and the campus center donation table for the next two years. Tremaine is impressed with the outpouring of support from the student body and plans to expand these efforts beyond campus. “Part of keeping energy up will be reaching out into the surrounding communities. As we get better connections, we’ll do better,” he says. Student leaders are soliciting local businesses to match student donations.
Student enthusiasm extended beyond gift and goods donations. Following the community meeting, Morgan Nesbitt ’09 took down a list of students offering space in their off-campus houses—couches, rooms, or beds—to evacuees who are coming to this area. In addition to the visiting students, at least four evacuees who lost homes and jobs in Katrina are now living with Bard students in Red Hook and Tivoli. More than 30 students have signed up for a Red Cross Shelter Operations training course being planned at Bard. Once trained, the students will be able to volunteer at national hurricane shelters, providing services such as child care and food preparation.
A group of students under the leadership of Josh Klein-Kuhn ’07 plans to travel to the Gulf Coast region during Bard’s January intersession and spend several weeks working with Habitat for Humanity in rebuilding homes.
Other student-planned fund-raising initiatives include: a car wash; a series of benefit concerts organized by music students; studio arts students selling their paintings; and Bard’s knitting and crafts clubs selling handmade accessories. All proceeds will be sent directly to the Red Cross.
Sunday, October 2 at 3 p.m. at Methodist Church, Washington Avenue, Saugerties, N.Y.
Organized by Bard music students to benefit Red Cross relief efforts
$6 minimum suggested donation
To help or for more information contact:
Erin Cannan, Dean of Students: firstname.lastname@example.org 845-758-7454
Stephen Tremaine: email@example.com
American Red Cross of Dutchess County, Office of Volunteer Coordination: 845-471-0200 ext. 313
This event was last updated on 11-07-2005