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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI to build house for Hurricane Katrina victims

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Fundraising goal set for $70,000

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 13, 2005 -- The University of Rhode Island community plans to build a home for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The first step in reaching that goal is to raise $70,000 before March 2006. Members of the University family—students, faculty, staff, and alumni—are being asked to contribute.

It is anticipated that URI student will travel to the Gulf Coast region during spring break to help build the house.

“I see our effort as both practical and symbolic,” says URI President Robert L. Carothers. “The Gulf Region will not be rebuilt quickly. Rather, it will be built one house at a time. URI is proud to do its part in that effort. It will provide an incredible learning opportunity for our students as well as for all of us.”

“Instead of hosting a number of different events and fundraisers, we wanted a coordinated effort that could produce a tangible result,” says Merith Weisman-Ross, coordinator for the Feinstein Center for Service Learning, who is coordinating the effort.

Weisman-Ross is asking groups to organize their own fundraisers. Groups, rather than individuals, raise money faster, she says. “It’s a much bigger impact, for example, if the women’s track team holds a run-a-thon and each member gets sponsors than a team member tossing a few coins in a can.”

So far, Weisman-Ross has contacted sport teams, academic departments, religious organizations, student clubs and organizations. She is also encouraging offices to host fundraisers. She welcomes contributions from URI alumni as well as from any Rhode Islander who would like to participate.

It is not clear at this time where the house will be built. The Habitat for Humanities chapters in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are in the process of coordinating rebuilding efforts, according to Weisman-Ross.

Anyone who would like to contribute to the house project should make a check out to “URI” and send it to URI’s Clearinghouse for Volunteers, 90 Lower College Rd., Suite 12, Kingston, R.I. 02881.

For more information, contact Weisman-Ross at 401-874-7422 or mwr@uri.edu.