Campus fundraiser to send $49,135 in relief to Hurricane Katrina victims

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CSUN raised a total of $49,135 for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts during its “$500,000 in Five Days” fundraising campaign that began Sept. 8.

The tally, counted at the unofficial end of collections on Sept. 14, will likely be increased by additional donations from A.S., Residence Halls Association, a special remembrance ceremony held last Friday, and donations from other student groups.

Despite falling short of its original $500,000 goal, organizers said they were pleased with the success of the fundraiser, which ran from Sept. 8-14 with four donation booths set up around campus.

“It was a lofty goal, (and though we fell short) it doesn’t discount anything we’ve done or any of the donations students have given,” said Vicki Allen, assistant director for student involvement at the Matador Involvement Center.

Allen said that in her time at CSUN she has rarely seen moments when faculty, staff and students have come together for a cause like the Katrina fundraiser.

“I’m exceptionally pleased,” Allen said. “We saw students give beyond what we expected.”

Allen said she was thankful to Associated Students for its role in supporting fundraising efforts, and also for what is expected to be an additional donation of around $33,000.

A.S. recently approved an action that will take $1 from every student’s $70 fee and donate it to the fundraiser.

According to A.S. President Chad Charton, the senate also challenged The University Corporation and the Alumni Association to match the A.S. donation.

Neither was financially equipped to do so at this time, according to officials from each organization.

Debra Hammond, executive director of the University Student Union, helped organize the campaign and said she was also pleased with the results.

“For us to do this in five days really was a tremendous effort,” Hammond said. “We’re still really ecstatic.”

In addition to donating money, students and student clubs are donating their time and participating in clothing and food drives, Allen said.

Residence Halls Association, the student government for residents in the University Park Apartments, held a bike auction Sept. 15. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to the fundraising campaign.

“We want to have their effort counted as part of our total,” Allen said.

In correlation with a proclamation by President Bush, who named Sept. 16 as a national day of prayer and remembrance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, students, faculty and staff were invited to the Northridge Center at the USU for a ceremony.

The event was announced via e-mail by Terry Piper, vice president for Student Affairs, and Provost Harry Hellenbrand. It served as one final fundraising opportunity for the relief effort, said Beatriz Trejo, activities coordinator for the Matador Involvement Center.

“My hope is that those of us at CSUN will continue these efforts,” Allen said. “This is not going to end tomorrow.”

Michael Salseda can be reached at michael.salseda@gmail.com