Campus: CSU Fresno -- December 15, 2005
Fresno State Volunteers to Help Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery Effort;
Parent/Student Groups Donate $13,000
Volunteers seek another $32,000 to send full contingency
of 50 students
California State University, Fresno is partnering with several campus
and community groups to send at least 25 students – and possibly
as many as 50 if enough funds are raised – next month to help
the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region impacted by Hurricanes
Katrina and Wilma.
The university’s hurricane-recovery volunteers – who with
three to four staff and faculty volunteers will depart on Jan. 5 for
Slidell, Louisiana and return to Fresno on Jan. 15 -- announced a drive
to raise $45,000 for the trip, or individual donations of $800 per student.
The Office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State,
along with a number of student organizations, and University HOPE, a
nonprofit university based organization that builds homes for low-income
families, are organizing the trip.
Fresno State employee Dan Griffin, who is a board member for University
HOPE and has been spearheading the project, said organizers had originally
set a goal of raising funds for about 15 to 20 students and have succeeded
in raising $13,000 so far. But 50 students have signed on.
Today, he and several of the student volunteers joined Dr. Jeronima
Echeverria, Fresno State provost and vice president of academic affairs,
and Chris Fiorentino, director of CESL, at a press conference to ask
for public support to send 35 more students.
”The interest from the students was overwhelming after we made
announcements on campus,” Griffin said. “Now we have almost
50 students who want to volunteer. We want to take all of these students.
For each $800 we raise, we can take another student above the 15 covered.”
Griffin announced the following support for the trip to Louisiana to
• •A $5,000 donation from the Fresno State Parents Association
that was presented at the press conference today;
• A $4,000 grant from the university’s “Instructionally
Related Activities” fund, a student fee-based pool of money distributed
by the Associated Students, the university’s student government,
that is designed to support unique ways of engaging students in learning;
• $4,000 from individuals and various campus groups, including
$1,000 from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Fresno State. A number
of fraternity members will be among the volunteers, said SAE vice president
Isaac Lopez, who is also a student senator.
Griffin said the $45,000 will cover all the costs of travel, lodging,
food and building supplies and enable about 50 students, especially
those without the financial means, to volunteer for this project. The
volunteers will utilize three to four recreational vehicles to allow
them to be self-sufficient, bring all the necessary tools and supplies,
and be able to stay right at the work site, which will help keep costs
to a minimum.
He explained that the volunteers will focus their efforts on helping
low income families and senior residents in Slidell, a city of 30,000
just north of New Orleans, across Lake Pontchartrain.
The Fresno State group will partner with Habitat for Humanity, the United
Methodist Storm Relief Association, the Slidell Parish Chamber of Commerce,
Catholic Charities, the Slidell Rotary Club and Lutheran Ministries
to identify families needing assistance in renovating their homes damaged
by the hurricanes.
“We feel that this trip will demonstrate the compassion and desire
of our students to help those who need help the most,” Griffin
In addition to Sigma Alpha Epsilon, other student organizations helping
recruit and select volunteers as well as raise funds to support this
project include Sigma Nu fraternity, Lutheran Campus Ministries, Circle
K (Kiwanis), Fresno State Minority Engineering Program, the Army ROTC
and the Catholic Students Association of the St. Paul Newman Center.
He added that the group hopes to raise an additional $10,000 to help
low-income families in Slidell purchase appliances and other household
“Contributions of food, tools, building supplies, gasoline in
addition to financial contributions also are greatly appreciated,”
Those interested in donating money or supplies can contact Melissa Dittmar
at Melissadit@aol.com or Dr. Daniel
Griffin at danielg@csufresno or
Contact: Tom Uribes (559) 278-5366 or 246-1717