Tulane Students Safe and Sound

The impact of Hurricane Katrina was felt on Georgia Tech's campus in a very personal way, as 275 students from Tulane University arrived at the Student Center in the early morning hours of August 31.

While the majority were able to make travel arrangements home, international students faced greater challenges, since returning to their home country could jeopardize the status of their student visas.

As some students slept in the Student Center's conference facilities and others showered at the Campus Recreation Center, Tech negotiated on behalf of Tulane with a local apartment complex to provide the displaced students with a place to live during the next several months if necessary.

During the students' brief stay, offers of support from the general public poured in to Georgia Tech. People from metro Atlanta and across the country generously offered everything from food to housing. Tech is extremely appreciative of the efforts put forth by the public to make our visitors welcome and is happy to report that housing for the students evacuated from Tulane University has been settled.

Most were able to schedule flights to return to their hometown. Nearly two dozen students are living in a local apartment complex; others are hoping to be taken in by regional universities to continue their academic and research work. The Office of the Dean of Students is working with the Tulane Alumni local network in organizing support and assistance for these students and their families.

During the evacuation, Director of the Georgia Tech Student Center Rich Steele said he was extremely proud of the students and staff members who were able to put such a large operation into motion so quickly.

Georgia Tech has planned an ambitious, three-week fundraising effort to aid hurricane victims along the Gulf Coast. If met, it would be the Institute's largest charitable contribution for disaster relief.

Representatives from several of Tech's student organizations met last week in the Student Services Building to discuss a campus strategy for offering assistance to displaced residents in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. They set a monetary goal of $50,000, earmarked for a major charity.

Assistant Dean of Students Danielle McDonald, who led the meeting, said that from Sept. 6 until Oct. 1, a table along Skiles Walkway would accept donations for this effort. Other fundraising is expected to take place during Tech's two home football games in September.

McDonald said documentation could be arranged for individual donations in excess of $100, and that departmental collections should be brought to the Office of Community Service, located in the Student Services Building.

Early plans are also being formulated for a service trip to the affected areas to aid in the clean-up effort during winter break. Community Service Coordinator Sarah Brackmann said she is in contact with the Red Cross to determine volunteer needs, and that future information pertaining to the initiative would be posted at www.service.gatech.edu.