TU community rushes to aid survivors
In a rush to corral helpers one afternoon last week, Jason Riley mistakenly posted his cell phone number to a Web page that’s become a bulletin board for Temple volunteers ready to mobilize to the Wanamaker School, a makeshift city shelter for New Orleans evacuees.
Within minutes, Riley was barraged with calls from students wanting to help. Soon after, he had to stop answering his phone, though it kept ringing for hours.
Riley, Temple’s assistant director of community service, said the episode was indicative of the surge of support he’s witnessed from the University community in response to Hurricane Katrina.
“The level of support on campus has been absolutely incredible,” said Riley, who estimated that more than 100 students and staff have already volunteered at the shelter adjacent to Main Campus, with hundreds more in line to help. “Students especially have been right out front, driving a lot of these efforts and asking how they can help.”
The Temple community has been assisting with Project Brotherly Love, Philadelphia’s effort to accommodate survivors displaced by the storm, in eight-hour shifts, 24 hours a day. Riley estimated that, at any given time, 20 Temple volunteers are at the site. On Sept. 10, Riley and city officials hosted an orientation at the shelter to train 65 additional volunteers who’ve asked to help.
Primarily, Riley said, the Temple students and staff have supported city workers in preparing Wanamaker during the Labor Day weekend for the evacuees’ arrival and greeting people as they come to the shelter.
In addition to the Wanamaker effort, other Temple departments and organizations across campus have stepped forward to offer their support and resources during this time of need.
Below is a small sampling; watch the University Calendar at http://calendar.temple.edu for relief efforts organized by departments and groups around campus:
• Tuttleman Counseling Services hosted a session for a group of students affected by Hurricane Katrina on Sept. 8. The gathering included Temple students from the areas devastated by the storm, as well as those who’ve since enrolled as visiting students at the University in order to continue their education. Student Affairs personnel continue to reach out to students from the affected area to ensure their safety and offer Temple’s support.
• Two faculty members from the School of Medicine, William DeLong and Christopher Born, were deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to the Gulf Coast as part of the agency’s International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSuRT).
• The Fox School’s College Council is sponsoring a fundraising campaign for the Red Cross Relief Fund. Donations can be delivered to Assistant Dean Debbie Campbell, director David Kaiser or College Council president Jessica Warner at the undergraduate office in 106 Speakman Hall.
• The Athletics Department has offered evacuees free tickets and transportation to upcoming Temple football games. At this Saturday’s home opener at Lincoln Financial Field, Temple coaches and student athletes will be collecting money for the American Red Cross Relief Fund.
• The University donated classroom space at Temple University Center City to the United Way, which needed a facility to train more than 50 volunteers for the city’s Wanamaker and Palumbo shelters.
• Student groups at Temple Ambler are collecting canned goods, clothes and monetary donations in Bright Hall to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina from now through Oct. 28.
• Temple's Institute on Disabilities is collecting medical equipment and assistive technology devices to assist people with disabilities affected by Hurricane Katrina. Canes, wheelchairs, wheelchair parts, walkers, commode chairs, shower chairs and communication devices are being collected and can be dropped off at the institute’s office, 423 Ritter Annex, from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday through Sept. 30. For information regarding the effort, contact George Heake at 215-204-7177 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Student Bar Association at the Beasley School of Law has launched Operation Backpack, an effort to deliver school supplies to children nationwide who’ve had to relocate due to Katrina. The Law School has also implored its alumni to donate to the relief efforts.
• On Wednesday, Sept. 14, Temple theater students sponsored a bake sale to benefit their fellow theater students from Louisiana State University.
For updates about volunteer opportunities or ways to donate, visit www.temple.edu/community_service/katrina.htm.
- By Ted Boscia