Campus organizations step up to aid victims

TCU is beginning a three-stage system giving students opportunities to aid Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.Fernando Vasquez, director of community services, said Student Development Services and University Ministries began stage one Wednesday.

Stage one is aimed at raising money, and there will be staffed tables with donation cans in every residence hall, the bookstore and the recreation center, Vasquez said.

The second stage of the relief plan, which begins Tuesday , will revolve around non-monetary donations, such as clothing, non-perishable food, personal hygeine and toiletry items, and is expected to last several weeks, Vasquez said. Stage two will add boxes to the donation points for larger items.

Vasquez said stage three will focus on providing human resources, such as volunteers for local agencies to staff phones and serve meals to refugees.

TCU’s Greek community has expressed interest in spearheading relief efforts, he said.

“We’ve been talking with different campus groups who are interested in fundraising,” Vasquez said. “We’ve met with several student groups, but especially Greek organizations. They’ve really stepped up to raise money.”

Vasquez said SDS has also been working closely with both the Tarrant County Food Bank and Red Cross.

The Rev. Angela Kaufman, minister to the university, said the Tarrant County Food Bank director estimates there will be more than 5,000 refugees in the Fort Worth area.

“And (5,000) is likely a low estimate as well,” Kaufman said.

Another effort to help is emotional counseling, offered by the Pastoral Care and Training Center, which works with Brite Divinity School, center director Duane Bidwell said.

Sessions are open to all students or faculty who have been affected by Hurricane Katrina.

“We want the TCU community to know we’re ready to help them if anyone needs it,” Bidwell said. “We’re also available to those looking for counseling from a particularly pastoral view.”

Anyone can call the center and set up an appointment with one of three counselors. These sessions are at no cost and will be offered as long as they are needed, Bidwell said.

Chancellor Victor Boschini said he is pleased with the Pastoral Care and Training Center’s offered counseling.

“I’m all for anything that offers help to those who need it right now,” Boschini said.

The chancellor also expressed his sympathy toward all TCU students affected by the hurricane.

“I’m definitely concerned about the locals and victims of Hurricane Katrina,” Boschini said. “I’m also very concerned about our students here with family in that area. I can’t even imagine what they must be going through.