September 22, 2005
Vol. 25 No. 1

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    Sending some relief: University-wide efforts offer help to Katrina’s survivors on Gulf Coast

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office


    Two of the University’s relief efforts for the survivors of Hurricane Katrina were a donation drive at the University Hospitals and a project to collect backpacks filled with school supplies for children evacuated from the afflicted areas. The Teamsters Local 743 and Illinois Nurses Association in partnership with the University and the University Hospitals organized the Hurricane Katrina Relief Drive, which accepted many basic items such as baby clothes, hygiene products, diapers and non-perishable food. As people dropped off items at the Maryland Avenue entrance to the Hospitals, such as Hyde Park resident Buc Rogers (directly above), Yolanda Butler (below) helped organize the growing collection of donations. The Laboratory Schools’ Backpacks for Katrina collection (top photo) was an overnight success, as parents and students assembled the packs with less- than 24-hours notice to be ready for the trucks departing for the Gulf Coast region the next day.

    Like so many others across the nation, members of the University community have been deeply saddened by the suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina.

    In the aftermath of the tragedy, University staff attempted to reach all University students living in the Gulf Coast region. In a message from President Randel sent to the University community Friday, Sept. 9, he noted that all Chicago students are believed to be accounted for, and he added, “We will give them every possible support as they return to campus.”

    The University also has created an online bulletin board to contact its hundreds of alumni in the affected region. In addition, Argonne National Laboratory, which is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy, is playing a key role in the federal government’s emergency response efforts in the Gulf Coast region.

    A team of Argonne scientists is working with the Department of Homeland Security to identify vulnerabilities and evaluate the hurricane’s damage to infrastructure and key resources. Researchers in Argonne’s Infrastructure Assurance Center, which is part of the Department of Energy’s virtual team, also are in the process of evaluating damage to the numerous oil and natural gas infrastructures in the affected areas. For more details about Argonne’s efforts, please visit: http://www.anl.gov.

    Many members of the University community have been actively engaged in efforts to aid and comfort those who have been affected. Due to the wide range of activities undertaken by faculty, staff and students, from organizing fund-raising drives for relief agencies, to collecting clothes for infants and providing medical care to displaced residents, the University has created a Web site with regularly updated information about news, activities and services related to the Gulf Coast hurricane at: http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/05/katrina/.

    While many are contributing to the relief efforts by donating social services, time and food and other basic items, others are continuing to make cash donations. The University and its Hospitals will match all student, staff and faculty contributions to the relief funds of the American Red Cross and the United Way, up to $250,000. There are three ways to ensure a matching gift will be made.

    • Contribute Online. Students, staff, and faculty members can contribute to the American Red Cross or the United Way online: at http://www.redcross.org or http://www.unitedway.org. Once you’ve contributed, you will receive an electronic gift receipt from the United Way or the American Red Cross. Please e-mail this receipt to: nancy_gormley@development.uchicago.edu, and the University will match your gift.
    • Document a gift already given to the United Way or American Red Cross. If you already have contributed to the United Way or the American Red Cross or if you plan to contribute directly to those organizations, save a copy of one of the following: a gift receipt from the American Red Cross or the United Way, a cancelled check, or the charge on a credit card statement. This gift record should be delivered to Nancy Gormley, Director of Gift Services for the University of Chicago, Administration Building, Room 007C, Chicago, IL 60637, and your gift will be matched by the University.
    • Make a contribution to the University to benefit the American Red Cross or the United Way. Indicate on your check’s memo line your preference for either the Red Cross or the United Way, and the University will then make a contribution for twice the value of your gift to the charity you indicate. Please send your check to Nancy Gormley, Director of Gift Services, University of Chicago Administration Building, Room 007C, Chicago, Il 60637, whose office will also issue a receipt for your gift to the University.

    If you have any questions about the matching gift program, please contact Nancy Gormley via e-mail at nancy_gormley@development.uchicago.edu.

    As one of a large number of institutions across the nation working to assist students who have been displaced from schools affected by the hurricane, the University will be welcoming a large number of temporary students to both the College and the graduate and professional schools. “I greatly appreciate the support and the generosity of all members of our community at this time,” wrote Randel. “Given the unprecedented scope of this tragedy, I know there will be an ongoing need for support, and I sincerely appreciate your continuing compassion.”