Campus community steps up Katrina relief efforts
Growing numbers of University community members are offering their time and creativity to Hurricane Katrina relief initiatives, including Princeton's commitment to help Dillard University recover from the storm's destruction.
Students, faculty and staff members have raised funds and
volunteered for various relief efforts in the weeks following the
hurricane. They continue to plan benefit events on campus and service
trips to the Gulf Coast region, while welcoming visiting students and
faculty members who have been displaced from their own institutions
affected by Katrina.
Earlier this month, Princeton announced a partnership with Brown
University to aid Dillard, a historically black university with nearly
2,000 students, after its campus was devastated by flooding. Princeton
and Brown will designate personnel and provide resources to support
Dillard's rebuilding efforts in vital areas such as physical planning,
facilities, libraries, academic offerings, campus life, human
resources, computing and development.
Director of Public Affairs Karen Jezierny, who is coordinating
Princeton's participation in the project, said she began receiving
suggestions and offers of assistance immediately after the Sept. 13
"Our community members have been remarkably creative and very
responsive to the idea of partnering with Dillard. The level of
thoughtfulness, generosity and energy demonstrated by our colleagues
has been tremendous," Jezierny said.
Many offices across campus offered support for helping Dillard
re-open in the near term and for long-term planning efforts to fully
restore Dillard's infrastructure and operations, which may take years.
Suggested contributions have included: an effort to collect books by
staff members in the history department; expertise in preserving
damaged manuscripts and other materials from staff members in the
library and art museum; donations of surplus furniture and computers
and assistance in negotiating contracts from the purchasing department;
counseling and mental health care support from University Health
Services; fund raising at sporting events and equipment donations from
athletics; and technical and strategic assistance from the development,
facilities, risk management, communications and information technology
In addition to establishing the institutional partnership with Brown
and Dillard, Princeton has reached out to individuals from other
colleges and universities affected by the tragedy.
Currently, 10 visiting scholars from a variety of disciplines have
been accepted under special programs to provide funding, offices and
housing assistance for faculty members from Gulf Coast institutions.
Though the programs originally were intended for 10 visiting
appointments, the University is still receiving inquiries from scholars
and will try to accommodate as many as possible, said Dean of the
Faculty David Dobkin.
"What has been most wonderful is the response of our academic units.
Many have reached out with their own resources to help colleagues,
expanding beyond what we imagined when Provost Christopher Eisgruber
and I designed the programs," Dobkin said. "There also have been
faculty members willing to house visitors in their own homes. Virtually
all faculty members who do visit will be made to feel like members of
the Princeton community, not only in the large sense but within their
Among other contributions by faculty and staff members, music
department chair Scott Burnham is working with the Jazz Foundation of
America to locate displaced musicians for possible temporary residency
at Princeton. In addition, eight Princeton employees
already are in the Gulf Coast or are making arrangements to go under
the University's new Humanitarian Relief Effort Policy, which provides
two weeks of paid leave for volunteers.
Following several campus benefit concerts in September, the Office
of Religious Life is organizing "Songs of Support: A Community Concert
for Hurricane Relief," which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7,
in the University Chapel. The concert will feature the Chapel Choir,
Gospel Ensemble, Glee Club and several student a cappella groups, as
well as choirs from Princeton High School, Westminster Choir College
and the American Boychoir School. On Sunday, Oct. 9, a benefit jazz concert
titled "From the American Songbook" is set for 3 p.m. in Richardson
Auditorium, Alexander Hall, as part of the Princeton University
Students are contributing in various ways, including helping the assimilation of visiting students who have temporarily enrolled at Princeton because their schools have been shuttered by the hurricane. Under a plan announced Sept. 2, Princeton has enrolled 23 visiting undergraduates and five graduate students, waiving tuition and providing housing and financial aid.
Students are also organizing fund-raisers, initiating campus
discussions about the tragedy and planning service trips to the Gulf
Coast with groups such as the Student Volunteers Council, Black Student
Union and Center for Jewish Life.
Through benefit concerts and donation drives around campus, the
Coordinated Undergraduate Fund for Hurricane Katrina Relief has raised
more than $11,000. Its goal is to raise $24,000 for donations to relief
organizations such as the American Red Cross and to school districts in
the affected areas.