Campus responds to Katrina

Though many college students beg for money for personal needs, they were begging for a cause during Northern Kentucky University’s Concert of Hope held Sept. 12.

Junior BFA theatre major Andrew Bacigalupo was one of many College of Arts and Sciences students who walked from the University Center to the Steely Library collecting money in empty milk jugs.

The group, who could be spotted wearing bright yellow shirts, infiltrated the crowd of nearly 1,000 students and could be seen yelling, begging and politely asking for donations.

They could also be seen selling blue Hurricane Katrina Relief bracelets for $1.

Students from the College of Arts and Sciences weren’t the only people collecting money.

Fraternities, sororities, honor societies and student organizations were among the many groups that sold food, hosted games and collected money, clothing and other necessities for the relief efforts during the Concert of Hope.

“It’s such a great cause,” Bacigalupo said. “The only time (campus) has ever been like this is when music has been performed, but this is so much bigger.”

Senior Lisa McFarlane also said she had never seen so many people gathered for one cause at the university. The former choir member was one of many spectators who sat on the lawn by the Fine Arts Center to watch the different musical groups perform.

The NKU Chorale, the NKU Chamber Choir, the Vocal Jazz group, the Student Jazz Combo and the NKU Musical Theatre Tour Troupe all performed during the Concert of Hope.

Between performances, President James Votruba spoke to the gathering of students, administrators and faculty.

“NKU has responded with our hearts, hands and finances,” he said.

The President also led a moment of silence to remember those who are hurting in wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Votruba said the Concert of Hope is “not only helping Gulf Coast victims, but also helping to develop a deeper understanding of who we are.”

He spoke to the crowd about the students who are attending not only NKU, but also other colleges in the area that have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Dean of Students Kent Kelso feels the relief efforts for the students affected by the hurricane are bittersweet.

“I’m happy and proud that the university has opened its doors to the victims of the disaster,” Kelso said.

“I’m sorry that students have been displaced. I know how much work goes into choosing a university.”

Kelso is involved with the relief efforts not only at the university but also for the area colleges and in Independence, where he lives.

He said the collection of money, food and other essential items will continue at NKU until Nov. 1.

Before then, Kelso said he foresees the area universities collaborating for “one big event.”

The Student Life and Activities Programming Boards of each school in the area plan to collaborate on organizing the event in a concert venue.

“We’re working on all that right now,” Kelso said.

“It will give students another opportunity to help with a relief effort project.”

He said the event would most likely feature musical acts, comedians or other similar types of entertainment.

Kelso said since the Hurricane Katrina Relief bracelets that were sold during the Concert of Hope were so popular, they will be reordered and sold at booths on campus.

“We ordered 1,000 bracelets to sell,” he said. “I think they ran out before the concert was finished.”

Though the university will accept any form of donations from students and faculty members, Kelso said those who are in New Orleans need cash the most.

By giving cash, the organizations in New Orleans will be able to purchase the food or toiletry items they need in bulk.

Also, things such as bus tickets or gas for cars for people to leave the Gulf Coast need to be purchased.

“Students will give whatever they can,” Kelso said.

NKU has not set a goal of how much money they want to collect.

“We’re literally collecting as much as we can possibly collect,” he said.

The university collected approximately $4,000 from the Concert of Hope, not including any money already raised.

Kelso said the end amount that NKU collects will probably not be announced, but rather the amount that the area schools collaboratively collects.

Kelso said, “If every students and faculty member donates $1, we could easily have $16,000.”