Images of Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath have inspired students nationwide to volunteer their support to the Gulf Coast. Some Temple students, angered by what they said is the federal government’s slow response to the disaster, have organized fundraisers. Other students, however, said they’ve been given few on-campus opportunities to help.
For some students, finding a way to contribute is not as easy. National fund drives led by organizations like the American Red Cross have brought aid to the Gulf Coast, but some students said they have trouble donating money when, as students, they have so little. “I hope to donate food and clothing, because as college students it’s really difficult to give money right now,” Carrie Thomas, a theater and history major, said. Some students said the reason they hadn’t donated to the effort wasn’t because they didn’t want to, but because there were no immediate grassroots efforts on campus.
Mawata Dunbar, a sophomore and member of the Organization of African Students, hopes to change that. She organized more than 100 students to volunteer on campus this week. Starting today, Dunbar’s volunteers will collect donations from students throughout campus. Dunbar said the money collected will be donated to the Red Cross to support disaster relief.
Many students said they would contribute to a campus-wide fund drive, mainly because they said the Bush administration has done a poor job helping residents of New Orleans. “It took so many days for them to get food and supplies,” Nirva Lafortune, a communications major, said. “That doesn’t even make sense. They’re not even in another country, they’re right here in the United States. They pay taxes, yet these people are standing on their roofs for five, six days. It’s really sad.” In Philadelphia, and all over the country, the most noticeable consequence of the hurricane is the effect it has had on gasoline prices. In the city, regular gasoline goes for upwards of $3.80 per gallon. “I think it’s because of billions of dollars that certain corporations have lost due to Hurricane Katrina,” Lauren Carey, a freshman, said. “I guess that’s why they’re focusing on the economic aspect of it.”