Dear Members of the West Virginia University Community:

Mountaineers across the state and country have mobilized to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In keeping with our tradition of service and commitment, West Virginia University is also doing what we can to reach out and assist our sister colleges in the South. We are taking in students who attend schools in the Gulf region, reaching out to the some 185 students who attend WVU and have families affected in those regions, and raising funds and collecting supplies for disaster relief. Just this weekend (Sept.3-4), several hundred evacuees arrived at Camp Dawson in nearby Preston County, and WVU s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Centerincluding WVU Hospitals, UHA and all HSC schoolswas activated to assist in providing medical response. When the time is right, we also plan to send volunteers to the affected regions.

I am pleased with WVU ’s efforts and pledge our continued support. Our deepest sympathies are extended to all the victims and their families.

What follows is a brief recap of some of WVU ’s efforts to date:

  • Several students from Tulane and another from Xavier have joined us, and we will continue to work with displaced students on a case-by-case basis to expedite their enrollment and locate appropriate housing, while waiving paperwork and extra fees.
  • Our Student Info Line, 304-293-5555, Mountaineer Parents Club Helpline, 1-800-WVU-0096, and Carruth Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, 304-293-4431, are all prepared to take calls and provide services and support.
  • A”Dollars for Disaster”fund has been set up by various student groups with funds being channeled through the American Red Cross.

UPDATE : On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the WVU Student Health Advisory Boardalong with the Student Government Association, fraternities and sororities, Campus Crusade for Christ and many other student organizationswill launch a two-week, campuswide fund-raiser calledDollars for Disaster: Hurricane Katrina Relief.Student volunteers will accept donations from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sept. 6-9, 12-16 and 19-20 in the Mountainlair and Health Sciences Center (outside the HSC cafeteria). Donations may be made payable to the American Red Cross.

UPDATE 9 /3/05: WVU alumni chapter game-watching parties for the WVU vs. Syracuse game on Sept. 4 have been scheduled from New York to Los Angeles. Chapter leaders are encouraging alumni to support the Dollars for Disaster project sponsored by the WVU community. The Houston Alumni Chapter is also collecting non perishable food items and essentials for infants such as diapers, as Houston is a major hub for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.

UPDATE 9 /4/05: Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity will have a collection point in the Mountainalair from 9 a.m. -4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Sept. 6-9, for those who want to donate supplies and other non-money items to the victims of the disaster. Heres what is needed most: non-perishable foods, can openers, paper products, plastic dinnerware, toiletries (men, women, children), baby food, diapers, wipes, pet foods, flashlights, batteries, blankets, sheets, towels, clothing/socks/underwear, bottled water

* Service Learning trips to the hurricane-ravaged Gulf are being considered for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, and the Service Learning Office is also working through Campus Compact to identify available space to house and educate students with its member schools.

UPDATE 9 /2/05: The President’s Office has asked the Office of Service Learning to coordinate all information from colleges, schools and units regarding efforts to assist and support victims of Hurricane Katrina. Call Kim Colebank, director, at 293-8761 or email her at with details of your efforts.

* Outreach efforts such as blood drives and the collecting of supplies are under way.

UPDATE : WVU will host a blood drive Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 1-7 p.m. at Arnold Hall on the Downtown Campus.

UPDATE : WVUs School of Journalism student organizationsSociety of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Diversity in the Media Association (DIMA), the Ad Club, and the Public Relations Student Society of American (PRSA) are putting together a raffle,” WVU Journalists for Hurricane Relief,to raise money for the hurricane victims. They have already collected thousands of dollars in donated items. The effort will be launched at the Sept. 10 WVU vs. Wofford game, and continue though the week of Sept. 12. The drawing will be held Sept. 17. Tickets are $5.

UPDATE : WVU Faculty Senate Chair and Professor of Foreign Languages Michael Lastinger is identifying translators in case there is a need for French-speaking and Cajun evacuees to communicate with aid workers more effectively.

* WVU s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center (including WVU Hospitals, UHA and all HSC schools) is a part of the National Disaster Medical System, which is being activated today (Sept. 2) to assist in providing medical response to people affected by Hurricane Katrina. As a part of this system, a large number of hospital patients, injured persons and people with chronic medical conditions may be transported out of the affected region and dispersed to facilities nationwide. The National Institutes for Health and the Association of American Medical Colleges have asked us to be on alert for requests for assistance and to assess our capability to accept patients for treatment here or for consultation with our specialists.

UPDATE 9 /3/05: Several hundred evacuees are being moved to nearby Camp Dawson in Preston Countywith as many as 500 expected over the next few days. WVU Hospitalsmedical efforts are under way, led by Dr. John Prescott, dean of the WVU School of Medicine.

UPDATE : 9/4/05: The School of Physical Education is providing and transporting outdoor sports equipment and mats to Camp Dawson for the evacuees, especially the children. The Dominion Post is assisting in this effort.

* WVU is also prepared to accommodate medical students and residentsalso law school students and otherswhose training has been interrupted by this disaster. Those arrangements will be made over the next several weeks via the appropriate medical and law schools through their associations.

* WVU Extension Service is also working with statewide agricultural organizations to help farmers in the affected region. For details and updates about the program, see www.wvfarm.orgwvfark.htm .

UPDATE 9 /4/05: Extension has created a resource page at:

* WVU will also work with the Governor’s Office and with our national associations and affiliates to do what we can when we are called upon.

As relief and support efforts continue, we will keep the public informed through the WVU Web site:

We thank everyone involved for helping WVU to respond to calls for help and to meet the needs of the many whose lives have been touched by this tragic natural disaster.

David C. Hardesty, Jr.


West Virginia University