Purdue News

September 2, 2005

Purdue launches broad hurricane relief effort

Purdue hurricane relief site

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University student groups, academic and administrative areas, and housing units have launched a broad initiative to offer relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Purdue officials today (Friday, Sept. 2) offered immediate admittance to academically qualified students wishing to transfer from Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama institutions forced to suspend operations because of the hurricane. Meanwhile, student volunteers from about a dozen groups are leading campuswide efforts to raise money to be donated to hurricane relief through the Lafayette, Ind., chapter of the American Red Cross.

Although Purdue undergraduate housing spaces are at capacity for the fall semester that began on Aug. 22, available spaces in graduate and family housing facilities will be temporarily offered at no charge to the families of Purdue students from the hurricane-damaged areas and to high school seniors from the affected regions who enroll in the West Lafayette, Lafayette or Tippecanoe County school systems. Those on-campus housing spaces will be available through the summer of 2006.

"I have asked all Purdue colleges, schools and departments to work closely with the office of admissions to process applications quickly, find classroom space and provide any needed academic assistance to help transferring students catch up with coursework so that they do not suffer from enrolling this late in the semester," said Purdue Provost Sally Mason.

"This is a time when we must elevate our efforts and reach out to people whose lives are being devastated and whose futures are threatened. Purdue's campus already has a full enrollment, but we will make do with a little less individual space and give up some luxuries in order to meet this challenge."

Douglas Christiansen, assistant vice president for enrollment management and dean of admissions, said an expedited enrollment process has been established that will immediately evaluate any students who apply, channel them into the appropriate academic programs and assist with all transfer needs, including financial aid and housing.

"Any qualified student who contacts the admissions office by Friday, Sept. 9, may be admitted for the fall semester," Christiansen said. "However, we also will admit students from damaged areas for the spring semester. In addition to some housing spaces we can make available, there are vacancies in the community, and we will work with local apartment owners and with families to make living arrangements for anyone who applies.

"We have already admitted one student from Tulane University who is on the way to West Lafayette, and several other potential students have made inquiries that are being reviewed by our Office of Admissions."

Christiansen said students may apply for admission to Purdue by calling his office at (765) 494-1776. Admissions information also is available online.

John Sautter, vice president for housing and food services, said space will be available in undergraduate residence halls in the spring semester.

"For immediate occupancy, we have several one- and two-bedroom apartments available in Purdue Village. In Young Hall, several single and double rooms with baths were taken out of service due to maintenance concerns and impending conversion to office space, but these can be restored to acceptable working order. Additional housing is available in temporary spaces in several other residence halls. As we learn the individual needs of people who need accommodations, we'll work out the best solution for their situation."

Sautter said the on-campus units could accommodate a total of about 100 people. He said he also is working with off-campus organizations that may have housing available for families.

Purdue is now trying to contact 89 students who list their residences in Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama in order to determine whether they or their families need assistance. L. Tony Hawkins, dean of students, said his office will try to ascertain whether students need help communicating with their families, whether the families need housing or other assistance and whether counseling is needed to cope with the effects of the disaster.

Fund raising for the relief effort is being organized through various student organizations, including Mortar Board, Purdue Student Government and Purdue Graduate Student Government in collaboration with groups that include the Purdue Student Union Board, Interfraternity Council, Purdue Panhellenic Association, Engineering Student Council and the Residence Hall Association.

Beginning Tuesday (Sept. 6), students will be collecting monetary donations throughout the West Lafayette campus and offering gifts of Mardi Gras beads for each donation. Collection points include the Engineering Mall, Memorial Mall, Lilly Hall of Life Sciences, campus dining halls, Stewart Center and all University Libraries locations.

Students also will be collecting donations outside Ross-Ade Stadium following Purdue's home football opener on Saturday, Sept. 10, as well as at other athletic events.

Purdue senior Chelsea Steele, a Mortar Board member and coordinator of the campuswide fund-raising effort, said: "We have already been met with overwhelming support for this project. It was on the minds of many students, and Mortar Board is just helping to unify the efforts."

Pablo Malavenda, student government adviser and associate dean of students, said: "Students have been e-mailing each other and meeting this week, and they came up with this idea to combine efforts to pool resources in order to have a greater impact. Any other Purdue group that wants to participate is encouraged to volunteer or to set up its own event."

Members of the Boilermaker football team pitched into the relief effort with a fund-raising event Thursday (Sept. 1), at the Boiler Market, a restaurant located near campus. Souvenir footballs donated by University Bookstore were sold to fans, and more than a dozen Boilermakers were on hand to sign autographs. More than $900 was raised, and the owner of the Boiler Market donated the funds to hurricane relief.

"We just want to do whatever we can to help people who are going through a terrible time," said Brandon Jones, senior running back and a leader of the effort. "It was great to see all the fans and to help with a need like this."

Fans accessing http://www.purduesports.com will find a link to the American Red Cross, said Morgan Burke, director of intercollegiate athletics.

Anyone wishing to donate to the relief effort may visit any of the collection points on campus or send a check, payable to Purdue Hurricane Relief, directly to Business Office for Student Organizations, Room 213 Schleman Hall, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Suellen Reed, Indiana's superintendent of public instruction, on Thursday (Sept. 1) issued guidelines to the state's K-12 schools to immediately enroll students coming to Indiana as refugees from areas devastated by the hurricane.

Writer: Joseph L. Bennett, (765) 494-2082

Sources: Sally Mason, (765) 497-6989, sfmason@purdue.edu

Douglas L. Christiansen, (765) 494-7014, dlchristiansen@purdue.edu

John Sautter, (765) 494-1022, jasautter@purdue.edu

L. Tony Hawkins, (765) 494-1239, lthawkins@purdue.edu

Chelsea Steele, (765) 743-7087, cqsteele@purdue.edu

Pablo Malavenda (765) 494-1232, pablo@purdue.edu

Morgan Burke, (765) 494-3189, mjb@purdue.edu

Jennie Blankert, Purdue Graduate Student Government president, (765) 494-7139, blankert@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service, (765) 494-2096, purduenews@purdue.edu


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