Student groups collecting donations for Harvey survivors



Volunteers sort donated clothes as more than 9,000 and counting have gathered at the downtown evacuation center at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

By Tierra Carpenter

Various campus organizations are taking up collections for survivors of Tropical Storm Harvey, which has taken the lives of at least 37 people and, even a week after its initial landfall, still has people stranded in southeast Texas without food or water amidst unprecedented flooding.

Joshua Bowens, president of the Undergraduate Student Government, said he heard other campus leaders wanted to donate to the storm’s victims and thought it would be a good idea to make it a group effort.

“It wasn’t even about what I wanted to do or anything,” Bowens said. “It was more about helping the victims … and finally getting students to realize that this is something that we could take an initiative and be leaders about.”


Bowens said he connected with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief group with the help of Lori Stettler, the interim vice chancellor for student affairs. The group will be responsible for transporting the items collected to Texas, Bowens said.

The church in Texas receiving the donations is asking for gift cards because it has received an overabundance of other donations already, Bowens said. He and other volunteers will be collecting the gift cards outside of Grinnell Hall on Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Bowens said there will be a prayer circle following the collection in front of Grinnell.

“It’s a celebration — not a celebration of sorrow, but a celebration of life,” Bowens said. “Many people were affected by this, and to know that so many still have their health, to know that they still have their life, it’s so beautiful.”

Other organizations took to social media to announce their disaster relief efforts. One of these was Omega Psi Phi, a campus fraternity.

Jermaine Hughes, a member of the fraternity and a graduate student from Chicago studying workforce education and development, said they used an online post to challenge people to donate.

He said several local groups accepted the challenge, including Project Love, the Full Flutter dance team, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.


Hughes said his chapter is also considering expanding their efforts by organizing a barbeque to collect donations, which would be held over the weekend.  

Anyone interested in helping Omega Psi Phi by donating should contact Jermaine Hughes via his  email, which is [email protected]. Donations can also be dropped off at 606 W. College St.

The SIU Men’s Lacrosse Club is planning to go to Texas with donations over the weekend.

David McCauley, president of the lacrosse team and a senior from Geneva studying forestry, said his team is seeking to collect donations for the victims from the community, particularly toiletry items, water and pre-packaged food.

McCauley said the team is planning to leave for Texas either Friday night or Saturday morning to deliver the items they collect.

Anyone interested in helping the lacrosse team by donating can reach McCauley at [email protected] or 630-277-6096.

Tierra Carpenter can be reached at [email protected] or @tierramc_.

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