WMU News

Campus community focuses on Katrina-relief efforts

Sept. 7, 2005

KALAMAZOO--With state and federal efforts placing evacuees from Hurricane Katrina around the nation, the Western Michigan University campus is working on a variety of fronts to lend assistance and expertise to those whose lives have been disrupted.

WMU President Judith I. Bailey announced Friday that the University would welcome college students from the affected areas to the WMU campus. Talks with a number of families who are interested in the offer are continuing.

A longtime international partner, Charles University in Prague, has asked WMU to take two of its eight students who were beginning an exchange program at the University of New Orleans when the hurricane hit. Personnel in WMU's Haenicke Institute for International and Area Studies are working with an international education organization and the U.S. Department of State to make the necessary arrangements for the students to transfer to WMU.

Meanwhile at locations across campus, fund-raising efforts and other efforts are under way, and University personnel are working with disaster relief organizations to respond to the human crisis. The following are among the members of the WMU community who have been personally involved in relief efforts.

Longtime Red Cross volunteers Dr. Delores D. Walcott of the WMU Counseling Center and Dr. Kenneth Reid, professor emeritus of social work, have been on assignment at Fort Custer National Guard Base in Battle Creek, Mich, where nearly 300 evacuees from the hurricane-stricken region are temporarily housed.

Robert Johnson, security administrator with the Office of Information Technology, is also a longtime Red Cross volunteer, He has spent the past week delivering Red Cross training to teams of volunteers being sent south to assist in relief efforts. He is also on call to assist with local Red Cross operations.

Sara L. Carlson, a registered nurse at Sindecuse Health Center, has been working as a medical volunteer with evacuees at Fort Custer.

Students, faculty and staff returning to campus Tuesday after the long Labor Day weekend were greeted with opportunities to help. Donation boxes set up on the campus quickly gave way to planning for fund-raisers designed to address requests from relief agencies for cash donations, which support a more efficient distribution of aid.

On Monday, Sept. 12, the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will hold a car wash and bake sale from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross. The event will take place in the visitors' parking area off the circle drive in front of the building's main entrance.

During the Saturday, Sept. 17, CommUniverCity Night Football Game, student-athletes will collect funds for the efforts of the Red Cross. The 7 p.m. contest versus Southern Illinois University at Waldo Stadium is the home opener of the Broncos' 100th football season.

Meanwhile, academic departments are looking at long-term ways to help colleagues in the storm-damaged area. One department is offering faculty and students the opportunity to come to WMU to share office and laboratory space so their work can continue with minimal interruption. The Department of Psychology is formally reaching out to personnel in the hurricane-affected region, according to Dr. Wayne Fuqua, chair of the department.

Related stories
Students hold carwash fundraiser for Red Cross
WMU welcomes students from Katrina-ravaged areas

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400