Katrina spurs outpouring of support

Sara Macho

Donations flood university department

Staff members at the Center for Student Involvement were sitting around the office last Wednesday wondering how Kent State could help Hurricane Katrina victims.

Phone lines had been ringing off the hook with callers eagerly asking, “How can we help?”

Della Marie Marshall, associate director of the Center for Student Involvement, and office staff decided to set up Dollars for Katrina, a relief fund collecting donations from anyone affiliated with the Kent State community.

“Something needed to be done,” Marshall said. “It’s just fortunate we could pull things together.”

Dining Services on the second floor of the Student Center quickly donated collection boxes, and the money began pouring in.

The Center for Student Involvement and representatives from student organizations started collecting funds together in the Risman Plaza last Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. By Friday at 5 p.m., $3,253.99 had been collected.

Donations will continue today and tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. After tomorrow, formal collections in the Risman Plaza will stop, but students can still donate anywhere boxes are set up. These donations will be forwarded to the American Red Cross on Sept. 12. Currently, all Dollars for Katrina donations are being placed in a private account in the Kent State University Credit Union.

Stacia Brooks, graduate student in business administration and CEO in the Kent State University Credit Union, said it took three staff members an hour on Friday to count the “herds of donations” to the Dollars for Katrina aid.

“Everyone is so supportive,” Brooks said. “We’ve all given our money and encourage others to do so.”

Hurricane relief efforts have also extended past the Kent campus.

The Geauga campus and Kent area churches have also contacted the university about donations.

The Kent State University Hurricane Relief Effort Coalition, partnered with Family and Community Services, has been set up by faculty, staff, administrators and students. Family and Community Services is a Kent-based umbrella organization for a variety of area services.

John Heflin, associate professor of education in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, is working closely with George R. Garrison, professor of Pan-African studies, to collect non-perishable food and supplies.

Heflin said a Red Cross truck will be collecting items outside Oscar Ritchie Hall today and tomorrow afternoon. According to information from the Center for Student Involvement, donations can include bottled water, first-aid kits, soap, toilet paper, hygiene items, blankets, flashlights with batteries, can openers, towels, trash bags, hairbrushes and diapers. Financial donations can be sent or personally delivered to the American Red Cross, 501 West Market Street, Akron, Ohio 44303.

“We are hoping everyone associated with Kent State University will donate at least one item,” Heflin said.

Marshall is hoping everyone on campus will donate at least $1 towards Dollars for Katrina for a grand total of $50,000.

She is impressed with the effort put in by the campus community. Among the most supportive groups are the Greek community, including Panhellenic Council, Alpha Phi Omega and Black and Latino Greek Council, she said.

Marshall remembers a $150 donation made by one female student yesterday morning.

“Personally, I was ecstatic,” Marshall said. “The outpouring from students is amazing. It shows Kent State cares. People do care.”

Contact student politics reporter Sara Macho at [email protected].