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Clarkson University And The Clarkson Club Unite With Local Businesses And Alumni To Help Students Displaced By Hurricane Katrina
[A photograph for newspaper use is available at www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/gianttiger.jpg]
Clarkson University and the Clarkson Club teamed with local businesses and alumni recently
to assist five Gulf Coast area University students who were extended enrollment to Clarkson after being displaced last month by Hurricane Katrina. Clarkson was one of many colleges and universities throughout the nation that offered spots in their academic programs to the estimated 75,000 to 100,000 students impacted by the hurricane in an effort to ensure their academic progress was not unduly delayed.
Aid to the five new Clarkson students has come in a variety of forms – from Clarkson’s provision of free room and board and wavier of additional out-of-pocket expenses – to local donations of clothing and supplies. In addition, financial contributions from alumni have been pouring in and will be used to offset related living expenses including books, travel and medical insurance.
“As a nation, we have witnessed with heartfelt compassion the devastating impact that Hurricane Katrina has had on Gulf Coast communities,” said Clarkson President Tony Collins. “At the same time, we have witnessed an outpouring of generosity and response within our own local community and our alumni community to rally around these students to minimize the disruption of this natural disaster on their education and college experience,” he added.
In the immediate days following the announcement of the students’ impending arrival to Potsdam, the Clarkson Club, the university’s social and volunteer organization, raised in excess of $2,000 at its September 9 annual Newcomers’ Welcome Dinner to help support the students and raise funds for the American Red Cross relief fund. The club also contacted several area businesses to solicit donations for the incoming students, and their requests, notes Clarkson Club President, Pat Turner, “were met with immense support.” Participating businesses to date include the Kinney Drugs Potsdam store, The Computer Guys, St. Lawrence Supply, Hacketts, Giant Tiger, Great Northern Printing, Ponderosa Steak House, Robars and Empire Vision.
Two of the five students are from the Northeast or have relatives in the area. The remaining students fled the Gulf with little more than the clothes they were wearing. To help these students The Village Engraver & Gifts in Massena is providing three $25 gift certificates Sears store associates in Massena are collecting funds on their own initiative to buy coats for each of the three students.
Clarkson Club drivers will transport the students to these stores.
The Clarkson Club’s Lending Cupboard has also been a great source of necessary items for outfitting the dorm rooms, which were prepared for the evacuees by volunteer club members.
“We wish to thank these individuals and businesses for their demonstrated generosity and compassion,” said President Collins adding, “This level of cooperation truly demonstrates the spirit of the North Country and exemplifies Clarkson’s commitment to university life.”
Clarkson will continue efforts throughout the year to aid the victims of Katrina, including the estimated 85 Clarkson alumni from the Gulf Coast region. Continued assistance for the new students is also welcomed and will be channeled through the Office of Alumni Relations. Contact the office at 315-268-6467 for additional information.
PHOTO CAPTION: Giant Tiger Store Manager Tracy Tuttle (left) presents Clarkson Club President Pat Turner with $300 in vouchers to assist 5 University of New Orleans students who are attending Clarkson after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Giant Tiger is one of many Potsdam area businesses that offered donations of clothing and supplies to help the students, who were extended enrollment and free room and board to attend Clarkson as part of the University’s response to the natural disaster.