Wellesley College Works on Hurricane Relief Efforts

September 13, 2005
Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Members of the Wellesley College community have been working intensively to help with relief efforts along the Gulf Coast.

Last weekend, as part of Wellesley's annual Day to Make a Difference, members of the Wellesley College community donated more than 300 boxes of clothing, school supplies, and personal items. The Alumnae Association and Center for Work and Service have worked with U.S. Senator John Kerry's office and have arranged for the contributions to join others from Massachusetts and be shipped to the affected area.

In an e-mail to New England alumnae, Alumnae Association Executive Director Alison Greer said, "Despite the short notice and everyone's busy lives, hundreds of [alumnae] took the time, energy, and resources to go shopping, go through [their] own supplies, share what [they] had, collect from neighbors and colleagues, and deliver items to campus. I am always proud to be a Wellesley alumna, but when we come through with a response and outpouring like we did this weekend, it reinforces to me the true power of our network and the strength of our motto, Non Ministrari sed Ministrare [not to be ministered unto but to minister]."

Wellesley has made space available for undergraduates from New Orleans colleges and universities closed by the disaster. "We have one student from Xavier and three from Tulane, one of whom is in residence, registered for the semester," said Director of Advising and Academic Support Services John O'Keefe. "I am still in conversation with about six other students from Tulane, Xavier and Dillard, who are thinking about possible courses and talking with their families about what makes the best sense for them."

Tuition for these students will be waived, and Wellesley is in the process of reaching out to see if additional New Orleans students would like to spend the semester here.

Melissa Hawkins of the Center for Work and Service has contacted colleges and universities in the affected areas to offer assistance. “We have identified a collaboration with McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La.,” she said. The CWS is collecting items for hurricane victims staying at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Wellesley students, faculty and staff can contribute items for evacuees living in this temporary shelter and in other areas.

College Government President and Wellesley senior Lindsey Boylan reports that the CG Cabinet and House Presidents’ Council (HPC), in consultation with members of the administration, have launched several key fund-raising efforts. Donations were taken at Opening Convocation Tuesday, Sept. 6, and at the annual volunteer effort, A Day to Make a Difference, Sept. 10-11. Collection sites have also been established in residence halls.

"We will be working with students at Spelman College to support their fundraising efforts for students whose homes and lives have been disrupted by the hurricane," explained Boylan, who noted that College Government has chosen hurricane relief as its special service project this year. Spelman, an historically Black college for women in Atlanta with whom Wellesley has an exchange program, has established an emergency scholarship fund to assist students from the Gulf Coast. "We are collaborating with Spelman to identify these students needs and finding ways for Wellesley to help our sisters there," said Boylan.

At Opening Convocation, President Walsh reflected on the magnitude and significance of this disaster and said that in addition to doing all we can to help, “we can pledge here and now, while the terrible images are still etched so vividly in our minds, that over the coming weeks and months we will inform ourselves fully about this calamity, about all the reasons it happened, including very deep root causes, and about what can be done, not only to comfort the victims, mitigate the harm, and reduce the odds of a recurrence, but also to prepare ourselves to examine and perhaps change choices we are making that may be part of the problem.” President Walsh's full remarks can be read online here.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu.