In the two weeks since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Americans have donated more than $700 million to the relief effort. This is above and beyond the $62 billion that the American people have already given through their elected representatives in Congress. The American Red Cross alone has received $503 million as of last Friday, exceeding even the response after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Adding to this display of American generosity, CSUN campus leaders have stepped up to lead a campaign to help Katrina-affected victims.
A campaign to raise $500,000 in five days started last week and will conclude this coming Wednesday. The leaders of the University Student Union, Associated Students, and the Matador Involvement Center have been at the forefront of this fundraising effort, along with other campus departments and organizations. At administration and student-led meetings last week, this plan was first on the agenda.
If every person on this campus were to donate $15 to the campaign, with all funds going to the American Red Cross, the campus could raise the $500,000.
Additionally, Associated Students will vote tomorrow on a resolution that could take $1 from each students’ A.S. fee and donate it to relief efforts.
The university is also working with college students from the region affected by the disaster. A small handful of students from the region will enroll at CSUN in the coming days, and university officials have contacted students from CSUN studying at Louisiana State University and Southern University in Baton Rouge.
Most importantly, students already at CSUN who are part of the National Student Exchange program and schools like LSU have been well taken care of by CSUN.
We are no strangers to natural disaster ourselves, as CSUN benefited enormously from assistance given to us following the 1994 Northridge quake. It is, in the words of CSUN President Jolene Koester, our turn to repay that generosity.
We do not know if the $500,000 goal will be reached. But that’s not the point. Matching gifts will be found and we’ll get close. It is refreshing to see the university shoot so high on something.
We support the relief efforts in their entirety on this campus, and we encourage students to donate all they can. Don’t just pull out the change from your pocket and drop it into the box; whip out your checkbook and write down a number that makes you wince when you think about it. Everybody’s doing it!
What has been most impressive, however, is the organization our campus leaders – particularly our student leaders in A.S. – have displayed in putting this fundraising operation together. People have been talking about the campaign. Word of mouth is strong.
Keep an eye out on the large thermometer that displays the progress towards our campus’ fundraising goal of $500,000. Every foot of red that climbs up the thermometer is another leg up that this campus has given to the victims of Katrina.