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Students lead support initiatives for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy

| By Nick Alexopulos

As recovery efforts continue in the regions impacted by Hurricane Sandy, students at Loyola University Maryland are participating in numerous initiatives to raise money and show support for storm victims, both inside and outside of the Loyola community.

“Nearly all of Loyola’s undergraduate students were personally affected or know someone who was affected by the storm,” said Danielle Melfi, ’13, president of Loyola’s student government association (SGA). “Whether it’s the destruction of a home or the damage to a community, Hurricane Sandy brought loss to many students and shook our sense of security.”

Student response began on Nov. 3, less than a week after Sandy made landfall, when the SGA announced that $1 of every fall concert ticket sold would be donated to the American Red Cross. Ticket sales to the show featuring DJ Wolfgang Gartner resulted in a total donation of close to $1,300. The night of the event, students could also donate $1 for a bottle of water or a paper cutout of a home to sign and dedicate to a place in need of support.

The Student Athlete Advisory Committee took donations prior to a men’s basketball home exhibition game, with the top donor winning an invitation to sit courtside for a home game this season and watch Head Coach Jimmy Patsos give his postgame speech in the locker room. The initiative raised $900.

The student initiatives are linked to Hounds for Hope, a campaign run by student, faculty, and staff volunteers who are committed to helping victims of disaster through fundraising, awareness, and spiritual support. Hounds for Hope was established in 2011 as a response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and has since expanded its focus. The campaign has become especially meaningful because many of Loyola’s students, alumni, and their families are from areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy’s high winds, driving rain, and devastating storm surge.

“We have the opportunity to come together on campus to do our part for our fellow ‘hounds at home’ as they begin to rebuild,” said Melfi. “No matter where we are, we're One Loyola – each other's strongest source of support during this difficult time.”

On Nov. 9, the office of student engagement raised $55 for Hounds for Hope by raffling off two tickets to a Baltimore Ravens game. The tickets were donated by the office of student activities. On Nov. 14, GreyComm Studios’ “Domestically Challenged” collected donations for the Red Cross, and each donor received a Thanksgiving cupcake or snowman cookie made by Katie Fitzpatrick, ’13, the campus cooking show’s host.

Looking ahead, the SGA is working to organize a Christmas Basketball Classic similar to the old Fall Football Classic, with donations benefitting the Red Cross. There are plans for additional fundraising tables in high-foot-traffic areas on campus and a coffeehouse before and after Thanksgiving for students to gather and discuss their feelings of loss. The Center for Community Service and Justice is researching the feasibility of coordinating a week-long service trip for a team of students over Christmas break, and resident assistants are continuing supply drives in residence halls with the goal to drive donated supplies home at Thanksgiving.

More information about Hounds for Hope initiatives is available at facebook.com/houndsforhope.

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