Hurricane drive ships 19 boxes

Elizabeth Campbell

From administrators to music majors, student leaders to average joes, the Northwestern community has joined forces to advance hurricane relief. The Northwestern Hurricane Relief Taskforce efforts range from a collection drive to canning, and will culminate in a benefit concert for hurricane victims Oct. 30.

Students and community members shipped 19 boxes of toiletries to the Salvation Army in Dallas Friday afternoon, ending the Katrina Kit Drive, a community-wide collection for hurricane victims.

Associated Student Government President Patrick Keenan-Devlin kicked off the project weeks before school started by contacting student group leaders and students from the Gulf Coast regions to solicit their help in coordinating NU’s relief efforts.

“I knew Northwestern had to do something,” said Keenan-Devlin, a Music senior. “I wanted it to be the entire community.”

The Northwestern Hurricane Relief Taskforce, coordinated by Keenan-Devlin, finished its preliminary effort as about 15 volunteers gathered in the Michigan Room in Norris University Center and plastic bags of toiletries into boxes.

The boxes, donated by FedEx/Kinko’s in Norris, are expected to arrive at the Salvation Army location in Dallas early this week, said Helen Wood, the associate director for the Center for Student Involvement, who is working with Keenan-Devlin to organize NU’s relief efforts.

The project coincided with the annual Volunteer Fair. Keenan-Devlin said he hoped to create a “win-win” situation to benefit both Hurricane Katrina victims and NU community organizations.

Jackie Laine, a Katrina Kit volunteer, said she was impressed with the amount of donations.

“This is a great opportunity to do what we can with the resources we have, where we are,” said Laine, a Communication sophomore.

Now in its second phase, the Taskforce will focus on raising funds for the American Red Cross. Efforts began in September when students, including NU’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, canned at the Penn State game on September 24 and raised $3,300, according to Keenan-Devlin.

The “Dump the Change” campaign begins today with opportunities to drop change in labeled containers placed in cafes and convenience stores across campus.

Taskforce volunteers manned a booth at the Volunteer Fair and raffled off gift certificates from Evanston businesses, raising $53, according to Keenan-Devlin.

Students are also asked to contribute $1 when purchasing ASG-sponsored sweatshirts and T-shirts. The drive has raised $150 so far.

The effort will extend through Homecoming with fund raising and a Taskforce-sponsored concert capping off the week.

The Concert for the Gulf Coast Aid, a benefit performance on Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m., will feature NAYO Dance Ensemble, BLAST, Boomshaka, Tonik Tap, The Foster-Walker Complex, and numerous jazz ensembles from the School of Music, said NAYO President Hope McCoy, a concert organizer.

Tickets to the concert will cost students $7 and non-students $10. The concert will be held at Cahn Auditorum, which is waiving its fees for the event. McCoy said she hopes “students will understand that it’s their duty as informed adults to contribute.”

Various university organizations are pooling their resources to make the event happen, McCoy said.

McCoy also said organizers are still working to get performers from outside NU to participate.

She plans to hang a poster in the foyer where audience members can write messages to hurricane victims.

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