Despite Waning Public Interest, Hurricane Fundraising Remains Strong on Campus with Penny Wars, Panels

Though time has passed since Hurricane Katrina damaged the Southern Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana, and general public interest in the tragedy has waned, Phillips Academy is still enthusiastically raising money. Dean of Students Marlys Edwards and Director of Student Activities Cindy Efinger have continued to encourage donations from both students and faculty to the Phillips Academy Hurricane Relief Initiative. Ms. Edwards and Ms. Efinger have organized a variety of fundraisers, including ones based on incentives such as the Pizza Prize dance in the Ryley Room last weekend. In addition to the administration, many clubs have created fundraisers to raise money specifically for the relief effort. This past Tuesday, OXFAM finished its “penny war” – a competition between all grade levels against each other and a combined team of faculty and staff. The winning grade will receive pizza. The money will go towards OXFAM America, an organization that will fund shelters and food, along with more long-term goals such as rebuilding homes and relocating families. “We had a broad goal of five hundred to one thousand dollars [for the penny wars],” said the PA OXFAM President Gregory Pucillo ’06. Pucillo estimated that the penny war fundraiser had already raised three hundred dollars on Monday. Andover’s hurricane relief effort, however, is not limited to OXFAM’s penny wars. A donation dance earned three hundred ninety-one dollars from the sale of mixed CDs and donations at the door. Religious services have also encouraged and received donations. The Andover Christian Fellowship is holding a sock drive, welcoming new socks of all colors and sizes in labeled boxes around campus. The socks will contain inspiring messages for the families in Louisiana and Mississippi. Director of Community Service Chad Green and Reverend Michael Ebner are planning to donate a certain percentage of money raised at the OXFAM auction in November to the hurricane. is also planning a fundraiser in partnership with the Community Service Department. Restaurants featured on the website will donate food, which PA students and faculty will buy for regular prices. The money, however, will go towards the victims of the hurricane. Andover’s relief initiative has also put together funds for St. Isidore’s Catholic School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which has accepted many students displaced by Katrina. This money will buy school supplies and pay teacher’s salaries. PA has also encouraged alumni to donate towards Andover’s Hurricane Relief Initiative. The effort will funnel most of the funds towards Oxfam America, American Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity but some will also go to KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program. KIPP has long-established schools in Houston and New Orleans. Yet since the hurricane, it has opened an additional school in Houston designated for students displaced by the hurricane. “We’re working not only to raise money for relief in many ways possible but also to educate the community about what happened, how we weren’t prepared, and how larger issues of social and economic justice that were already critical were brought to light by these events,” said Assistant Director of Community Service Susanna Flug. Many debates and discussions to raise awareness about the hurricane and its consequences have taken place in the last few weeks. These included an All-School Meeting, a student panel discussion about poverty and race, another panel with remarks about Kanye West’s comments towards President Bush, and a student-led discussion about Katrina’s effect on other cities. The PA Red Cross has also held courses such as CPR and disaster training. This is the same course a normal Red Cross worker is required to complete before going to New Orleans. In order to participate in these courses, it is necessary to join the PA Red Cross, which meets every other Sunday. “It’s been an extraordinary year with the tsunami, two hurricanes, and the recent earthquakes, and it’s frightening that there could be a disaster fatigue with raising money,” said Mr. Green. Recent earthquakes in Asia, however, could shift focus from the hurricane relief efforts. Indo-Pak is already planning fundraisers for the earthquakes that occurred in Asia this past weekend, but working on hurricane relief and will hopefully remain pertinent. Students interested in volunteering should contact Mr. Green, Ms. Flug, or Father Francisco Nahoe.