Students discuss ways to help victims at Hurricane Katrina relief meeting

About 50 Elon students, faculty and staff got updates on relief efforts from local agencies and brainstormed ways to help hurricane victims at a meeting in McKinnon Hall Sept. 1. Details...

Representatives from local chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army were on hand to talk about what those organizations are doing to help, such as providing meals, shelter, and personal and spiritual counseling to victims. They urged students to find ways to raise money for the victims, as there are not yet systems in place to sort and distribute donations such as food and clothing.

The Red Cross is encouraging students to hold off on giving blood until the next drive at Elon, Oct. 25-26. Although there is a contstant need for blood, there is not an urgent need associated with the hurricane.

At the meeting, called to allow members of the Elon community to develop ways to best respond to the needs created by Hurricane Katrina, students discussed ways to help raise money and awareness. Smith Jackson, vice president for student life and dean of students, talked about some initiatives that are being planned by a steering committee.

Campus relief efforts in the short term will focus on raising cash for hurricane victims. Saturday’s Phoenix football game at Rhodes Stadium will serve to kick off a drive for monetary donations, which will be sent to the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Next week, donation tables will be set up in Moseley Center, with those efforts being coordinated by the Kernodle Center for Service Learning. There are also plans to include fundraising activities at College Coffee on Sept. 13.

Other ideas discussed at the meeting included a faculty panel discussion about the people affected by the hurricane, a banner on Moseley Center to raise awareness of the cause, wearing white ribbons as a show of support for hurricane victims and a fundraiser such as a benefit walk or raffle.

Elon is also taking action to assist displaced students from Tulane University of New Orleans, which is now closed. Three freshmen who had previously been admitted at Elon but chose to attend Tulane have now begun their college career at Elon, enrolled as special students. Two are from North Carolina and one is from Maryland.

Jackson’s steering committee is also investigating long-term recovery efforts in which Elon might concentrate its relief efforts by adopting a community or neighborhood. Among the activities being considered are service trips to the designated area as rebuilding efforts get under way.

Several students from the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina spoke up at the meeting to explain what life is like in their hometowns and to express their appreciation for support from the Elon community.

To learn more about what the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross are doing to help hurricane victims, visit or