Delivering light to University of Dayton shows NKU’s support

Lisa Rhine was lucky – and so were students at the University of Dayton.

That’s because Rhine, assistant vice president of Student Affairs at Northern Kentucky University, learned Sept. 19 that students at University of Dayton remained without power after hurricane-strength winds blasted the Tristate area Sept. 14. Seeking to brighten up the students’ lives, she contacted Dean of Students Jeff Waple to see what could be done.

“(There was) some serendipity about it. It was really just by chance,” she said. “It was quick, but people were in the right positions to make things happen.”

Rhine said she was fortunate when she contacted Waple, as he was speaking with Melissa Koppenhoefer, the Student Government Association’s executive vice president, who then sprang into action.

“I knew exactly what I had to do. I went into that mode, drafted a letter,” she said, “got that printed, done, edited.

“We were out the door at 12:30 p.m. and given the info at 10 a.m.”

She went to Lowes and Meier down off Alexandria Pike and purchased around 250 flashlights. Lowes, she said, couldn’t donate anything because of such short notice. Meier, however, gave them a $100 gift card. The rest of the money came from the dean of student’s office, she said.

By 2 p.m., volunteers were loading the flashlights into Rhine’s SUV.

“My car was stuffed with flashlights,” she said.

As luck would have it, she was already planning on driving up to Dayton on unrelated business. She took them up to the university, arriving late at night and dropping them off with U of D’s campus police.

“They were so incredibly thankful for the generosity,” she said.

Koppenhoefer and Rhine agree that one of the greatest aspects of the charity was students that were helping other students.

“It was important to me to help students out,” Koppenhoefer said.

Rhine said that University of Dayton is a heavily residential campus.

“The first year students are not allowed to have cars,” she said. “They couldn’t leave. The need was even more than if it would have happened at NKU.”