The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Response to Hurricane Harvey

Photo by Maggie Bean
Cole Bovard a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and coach Steve Wojciechowski send supplies to victims in Houston. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

University of Houston men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson challenged college basketball programs across the country to send their extra clothing to Houston in a tweet published Aug. 28. Although UH’s campus is over 1,000 miles away, Marquette’s men’s and women’s basketball teams accepted the challenge. 

Marquette Athletics, alongside other Marquette organizations and clubs, are working to provide relief to those affected by Hurricane Harvey, both in Texas and on campus.

Steve Wojciechowski, Marquette men’s basketball coach, helped collect shoes and clothing for residents impacted by hurricane Harvey Aug. 29.

“When students are traveling that far to arrive on our campus, the preparation that comes with the start of the school year can already be stressful and challenging,” Brian Dorrington, senior director of university communication, said in an email. “We are working with our Houston-area students to provide support for what has to be an immensely stressful and emotional time.”

A record-breaking 51 inches of rain were measured over the course of a week. More than 33,000 people from Houston and along the Gulf Coast are currently in need of temporary shelter, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“Grateful to be able to help @CoachSampsonUH & the residents of Houston during this difficult time with the donation of some shoes & gear,” Wojciechowski said in a tweet to coach Sampson.

Wil DiSabatino, men’s basketball manager and a junior in the College of Communication, was one of the students who helped pack clothing to send to Houston.

“It just really felt like I was actually taking a part in helping these people, and it actually felt like I was making a difference. Marquette always advertises to ‘be the difference,’ so it really resonated with me,” DiSabatino said.

Other members of the Marquette community have been working with national organizations to provide relief to those in need. Project Night Night is a national organization that donates tote bags full of books, stuffed animals and blankets to children in local homeless shelters.

The group recently donated a few of their tote bags to relief efforts in Texas. Kathy Hawkins is the coordinator for the Marquette chapter of Project Night Night.

“When the floods happened in Texas, I emailed the national organization and asked if there was any way that we can help out by sending some of our local totes to Texas,” Hawkins said. The group sent their totes to a school in Ohio, where a group of students were traveling to their sister school in Houston later this month.

The best way to support Project Night Night is to donate books, blankets and stuffed animals for children up to age 11, Hawkins said.

While many organizations are raising money, sending supplies and providing support to affected students, one group plans to travel to Houston to provide aid. MARDI GRAS is a campus organization that has worked since 2006 to provide disaster relief to the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In the past few weeks, their view shifted westward.

“When the storm happened, we decided that this is right up our alley,” said Danny Steeno, a junior in the College of Health Sciences and MARDI GRAS president.

Currently, MARDI GRAS is planning a fundraiser for organizations working in Houston. Maggie McDonald, a senior in the College of Business Administration and MARDI GRAS community outreach chair, said they are trying to plan a student trip to Houston over winter break.

McDonald said MARDI GRAS is looking to raise money and send it to a group in New Orleans called Youth Rebuilding New Orleans. MARDI GRAS  is hoping to send about 20 or 30 people to Houston this winter.

Smaller efforts on campus include a lunch for affected students to speak with ministers and discuss their experiences, which happened Aug. 30. Campus Ministry collected donations at all masses for Catholic Charities, an organization that provides disaster relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey and related floods.

The most important thing Marquette students can do is pray and reach out to their fellow students, said Mary Sue Callan-Farley, director of Campus Ministry.

“In times of tragedy, being able to talk about experiences and be assured is important,” Callan-Farley said. “If you know someone affected, say something to them.” 

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