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College student governement helps with Hurricane Irene

Jillian Barwick | Thursday, September 8, 2011

Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) is taking donations this week for all the victims of Hurricane Irene.

Seniors Liz Leeuw, community commissioner, and Anabel Castañeda, international commissioner, set up a collection post inside the Noble Family Dining Hall.

“We seem to be receiving a good amount of donations so far,” Castañeda said. “By the end of the week we hope that everyone who passes through the dining hall will be donating.”

Once these donations have been collected, Leeuw and Castañeda will send them to the American Red Cross. The Red Cross will take the donations and give them to the areas hit the hardest by Irene.

“Most of the girls at Saint Mary’s that see our efforts are very appreciative of what we are doing because it hits home for many of them,” Leeuw said. “We have many students here who are from the East Coast, and many were affected by the storm.”

Leeuw and Castañeda organized this event together after the vice president of the SGA showed them an email on Hurricane Irene relief efforts from the American Red Cross. Castañeda mentioned to Leeuw that they should do something about it at Saint Mary’s.

“We were not personally affected by Irene, but many of our friends were,” Leeuw said. “The American Red Cross is a great organization to send donations to and we knew that collecting donations from the students at Saint Mary’s was the right thing to do for the victims.”

The storm hit a large portion of the country, Castañeda said. Watching the storm coverage on the news compelled her to help those in need.

“Something that really struck me was when one of our students from China approached me at the donations table and asked to take a picture with me to send back home,” Castañeda said. “She explained that the Red Cross in China does not organize donations the way the American Red Cross does and she was very appreciative of what we were doing for victims of natural disasters in America. It made me realize how the American Red Cross is doing a great job at helping people across the country and how fortunate we are to have them help us.”

Leeuw and Castañeda will be in the Noble Family Dining Hall through this week from 4:30 to 6 p.m. during dinner hours.