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U Outreach Efforts, Including A Musical Offering, Continue to Aid Those Affected by Katrina

September 23, 2005 — Over the last three weeks, various University of Utah classes, individuals and departments have been coordinating campus Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

On Sunday, Oct. 2, the students of the University of Utah’s School of Music and Kingsbury Hall, with support from campus dance students, are collaborating to present another fund-raising event-“Operation Giving Hope: A Musical Offering.” The concert, which will benefit those affected by Hurricane Katrina, will be held at 6 p.m., at Kingsbury Hall, 1395 E. Presidents Circle (180 S.)

“The ‘Musical Offering’ for the victims of Katrina is a wonderful opportunity for our University community to rally around supporting the victims of this horrible tragedy. Those who attend the concert will be part of a wonderful gesture of goodwill,” says Robert Walzel director of the University School of Music. “I am proud of the way our students have stepped forward as leaders in the relief efforts.”

The program will include performances by student ensembles of the School of Music, including the Wind Ensemble, Utah Philharmonia, University of Utah Singers, Concert Chorale and Jazz Ensemble I, with additional contributions by students from the Departments of Modern Dance and Ballet. The concert will also feature performances by students and professional musicians from Louisiana who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

There is no charge for the event, but donations are encouraged and will be accepted to benefit evacuees of Hurricane Katrina who are now in Utah.

University President Michael K. Young says, “The outpouring of concern and response from our campus community continues to be astonishing. Many students, faculty and staff have asked how they might help assist those who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. It has been moving to witness all of the heartfelt expressions and acts of support.”

University campus Katrina relief efforts have taken a variety of forms-from the College of Nursing staff member who offered to donate children’s books to Camp Williams to the alumni couple who hopes to help rebuild hurricane-ravaged areas as a part of their autumn vacation in the Gulf States.

Other projects included a bake sale and luncheon fund-raising effort, with members of the Office of Comparative Medicine and others involved. The money raised-$1,700-was sent to the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association, which is caring for 1,000 displaced pet animals. Another project was headed by a U jazz professor and his student. They put out a call for instruments, then collected and distributed guitars, congas and a trombone to the musicians staying at Camp Williams.

On Wednesday, U students presented the American Red Cross with a check for $11,000. The money was collected at the Sept. 10 “University Hurricane Disaster Relief Fundraiser,” held before, during and after the football game against Utah State University. Fifteen different student groups participated in the effort. Sofia Lingos, one of the organizers, notes, “The fundraiser was an event that brought together students from every corner of our campus. It was an incredible collective effort.”

This week a 26-member medical team from University Health Care returned from spending two weeks in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, treating Hurricane Katrina survivors and first-hand responders. The relief effort was coordinated through Louisiana State University and its School of Medicine as well as the Louisiana State Health Department.

Within the first week of the disaster, more than 300 University medical staff volunteered to work at a clinic or go to Louisiana. And University Health Care has now filled more than 630 prescriptions for residents of Camp Williams, the majority filled within the first few days of their arrival.

Katrina has modified the direction of some University courses as well, with students researching many aspects of Katrina. This week a presentation titled “When the Levee Breaks: Race, Class & Katrina” was held to discuss the role race and class have played in the response to the disaster in New Orleans.

U of U Honors students enrolled in the “Natural Disasters” course will spend the remaining portion of the semester studying the Katrina and its impact.

“Students will look at the measurable details of Katrina-energy, health, commerce, political and social effects,” notes instructor, Barbara P. Nash, a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. “They will be producing detailed reports in these areas. The object is to follow the effects of a disaster a little further along than people normally do. It is still only a three-month view, but it is something that helps the students realize that after a disaster occurs, the impacts are broader than those that are immediately apparent,” Nash says, adding that her students will also be calculating the anticipated storm surge for Rita.

Students in Kristina Gibby-Wachter’s “School and Society” course, which studies issues of race and class in schools and American society, have already established partnerships between Utah and Katrina-impacted elementary schools. The students have raised funds to provide supplies for schoolchildren in areas that were blighted and disadvantaged prior to Katrina.

The University has established a Web site where, in addition to other important links, the campus community may obtain information on opportunities to donate time, money and services. It may be accessed at