Campus supports relief effort

Beth McHenry

Over the past few weeks, the news media have inundated us with images and statistics from the disastrous effects of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast. Organizations like the American Red Cross are still receiving overwhelming support from all over the world. The Lawrence community is also doing its part to aid victims of this tragedy, including a fund-raising concert this Saturday organized by Habitat for Humanity.
One Lawrentian taking the time to make a difference is Natasha Quesnell-Theno. She organized her own bake sale, both soliciting local businesses to donate baked goods and baking her own. and holding the sale outside of Walgreens. After five hours outside Walgreens, she had sold out of all the goods and was able to give $263 to the American Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund.
Many campus organizations have contributed to relief for victims of the hurricane and its aftermath. One of the most committed efforts is the Hurricane Katrina fundraiser scheduled from 8-11 in Riverview Lounge on Saturday.
The fundraiser will feature Lawrence bands including Denes, Bored to Tears, Vale Todo, Erik Schoster, and LU Live winners Left @ Atlantic. A silent auction will also be held with items such as gift certificates from local coffeehouses and restaurants and an Este Lauder cosmetic set. Kristina Nockleby and Mark Johnson have donated themselves for the auction, to be won as a date for an evening. “We are both experienced daters and will have fun charming our dates to the nth degree,” says Nockleby. “We are also both single.”
The idea was developed when a Habitat member, Chamee Lor, suggested that the group travel to affected areas for the organization’s annual Spring Break Trip Build. Carly Monahan, Habitat for Humanity’s president of builds, found that the national Habitat for Humanity organization would not let students travel there this year. According to Fundraising President Jessica Engel, the group thought that if they couldn’t go to those who needed help, they would raise money to send them instead.
The event was primarily organized by Engel, Monahan, and Nockleby. Other organizations have been eager to help, especially Lambda Sigma, the Volunteer Center, the Lawrentian, and SOUP.
Engel and others in Habitat felt an urgency to organize the event as soon as possible. “I wish we could have waited a little longer so that more of the campus could have been involved in the planning,” Engel says, “but I have been really gung-ho about doing it as soon as possible, because these people don’t have time to wait for help. They need help now.”
For Engel, like so many others, one of the inspirations to help is the fact that the hurricane victims have not only lost their homes, loved ones, and belongings, but they are also now facing unstable conditions. Many refugees cannot count on clean and safe facilities, and many refugees are still in desperate need of food. Says Engel, “Hearing these tragedies motivated me to do something. I couldn’t stop working on putting something together.”
Habitat’s event should shape up to be a wonderful way to give back and have fun. As Nockleby says, “This way, a bunch of college kids can rock out to music on a Saturday night, but still contribute to a good cause.” The event’s organizers invite anyone looking to rock out and/or contribute to stop by Riverview Lounge on Saturday night. Tickets will cost $3 and, naturally, all proceeds go toward Hurricane Katrina relief funds for the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.