by Juliana Walter
For the past two weeks, the Bahamas have been dealing with the devastation that Hurricane Dorian caused. With many people having lost everything they own; many organizations at The University of Tampa have decided to gather donations for people in need in the Bahama Islands.
On Sunday, Sept. 1 and through into the Monday, Sept. 2, the eye of Hurricane Dorian directly passed over the Bahama Islands. Currently, 1300 people are reported missing while the death toll is at 51 people. The storm also left over 70,000 people homeless on the islands.
Many of the resident halls on campus at UT have been collecting items that will be sent with the Bahama Red Cross to the affected areas of the Hurricane. These donation boxes were organized by the Caribbean Student Association (CSA). Students were encouraged to donate canned food, toiletries, and other personal products that can be easily shipped.
The CSA is for international students from the Caribbean nations to be able to connect at UT. The club set up donation boxes and raised awareness to the need all over campus.
Samia M. Rampersad, the secretary of the CSA, is helping head up the donation boxes. “CSA was reached out to by the Bahamian population on campus to help with setting up a relief effort to send to the affected islands,” said Rampersad. “We, along with PEACE and other organizations have collaborated to send everything as a big donation to the Bahama Red Cross.”
Nicole Campbell, a sophomore resident assistant in Straz Hall, believes that this is an important cause that students need to be aware of. “A lot of students donated to the cause so far,” said Campbell. “I’m glad that students are given a resource through the school to be able to make even a small contribution to the Bahamas.”
Athletic teams and organizations were involved in gathering donations as well. The athletic department has their own donation boxes as well as helping with the transportation of the donations this past weekend. The athletic department partnered with SOL relief, a St. Pete based charity which focuses on helping victims of natural disasters, to send these donations to the Bahamas.
Assistant athletic director, Jennifer Alger, helped to organize the Athletic Department’s donations. “Each team was charged with putting together a box of items. We had a few car loads full of donations and dropped them off on Saturday with SOL,” said Alger.
Julia Oswald, sophomore beach volleyball player, was the student coordinator for the Athletic Department’s donation project. “We were very happy with the donations we received/collected,” said Oswald. The teams used this as their first team bonding projects for the year but also saw an opportunity to serve people in need.
Alger also explain that the athletic department is involved in a lot of other charity and donation work throughout the school year. “Being a student-athlete, it takes a lot of time and commitment and although students have demanding schedules,“ said Alger, “many of them are very passionate about volunteering in the local community.”
Most of the organizations across campus are accepting donations during the entire month of Sept. Many of the donation boxes are located in resident hall lobbies.
Juliana Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org