Outpouring for Hurricane Relief
In a semester-long series of initiatives, the College community raised $44,000 to help victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, exceeding the campaign's original goal of $35,000. The money was given to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
The most prominent of the initiatives was the "Strive to Give $5" campaign organized by the College chapter of the American Red Cross, the African-Latino Society, and other student groups. It aimed to get every member of the campus community to donate at least $5 to hurricane relief, which the College agreed to match on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The College made it possible for employees to give via payroll deduction or the donation of a day of accrued vacation time. (As President Williams mentioned in her last "President's Corner," the College also allowed up to two weeks of paid leave for employees interested in being directly involved in official relief service.)
Other fund-raising events included a storytelling session by a New Orleans resident who rode out Katrina; a concert featuring several local bands, dance troupes, and vocal ensembles; a jazz concert featuring School of Music faculty members, alumni, and community musicians; a special program of songs and scenes from popular works performed by students and faculty from the Department of Theatre Arts; and an auction supported by campus groups and local merchants. Another example of cooperation from local businesses was "Commons Cause," in which local restaurant owners worked with student groups to donate a percentage of proceeds from a designated night. Collection tables and individual gifts also supported the relief efforts.
When presented with the proceeds, Chuck Nocera, executive director of the Tompkins County chapter of the American Red Cross, said, "I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the students, staff, and faculty at Ithaca College."
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