Samford University students and faculty are responding generously and creatively to various Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 13, a total of $3,783 had been contributed to the American Red Cross through Samford. The amount represents the generosity of many individuals who gave donations large and small. Gifts made to the Red Cross under the Samford umbrella will be matched, up to a total of $250,000, by Compass Bank.
Checks should be made payable to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, with Samford University Hurricane Relief Donation written in the "for" line. Donations may be hand delivered or mailed to the Office of Student Involvement, Box 292264, Samford University, Birmingham, AL 35229. The office is located in Room 116, Beeson University Center. Donations may be made at any Birmingham area Compass Bank location, but the on-campus collection site is preferred.
Individuals or groups who want to engage in fund-raising efforts should contact Frank Parsons at (205) 726-2028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students in Samford business professor James King's graduate and undergraduate human resource management classes are offering hurricane victims a specific kind of help. The goal of Hurricane Occupation Placement Effort (HOPE), based at the relief center at Boutwell Auditorium in downtown Birmingham, is to prepare evacuees to begin the job search.
"HOPE will produce resumes/skill sheets so that displaced people will have something to give to employers when they go out on their own," says Dr. King, who initiated the project. "Having paper always helps the process as it outlines an individual's general qualifications and can be distributed by and to anyone, unlike an application to a specific company."
Each person will receive 25 free copies of their resume, which is created on-site.
"We keep the job seeker information in a database to share with anyone, agencies or individual companies, who might want it for employment purposes," said King.
The students also collect information from agencies and companies looking for workers, in hopes that they can help make a connection.
The 32 students in King's undergraduate human resource management class have primary responsibility for staffing HOPE's Boutwell station. Ten Master of Business Administration students assisted in the initial design and data base development phases.
According to King, earlier this week HOPE entered into a collaboration that includes the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, TechBirmingham, Jefferson County Personnel Board and the Birmingham Society of Human Resource Management. The combined effort will continue operating the Boutwell site while adding a site at the Personnel Board offices. The HOPE system will be used at both locations.
Volunteers who can give time and energy during fall break in late October attended a planning meeting Thursday, Sept. 8.
April Robinson, director of student ministries, expects to have about 15 groups of 20 students, plus a faculty or staff leader for each group, scattered along the stricken gulf coast. Already, fall break work sites are planned for Bayou La Batre, Ala., Slidell and Baton Rouge in Louisiana, and the Mississippi towns of Gulfport, Pascagoula, Bay St. Louis and Ocean Springs.
The volunteers will be collecting supplies to take with them. Robinson will ask churches to volunteer vans and drivers to transport the students for the four-day effort, Saturday through Tuesday, Oct. 22-25. Robinson may be reached at (205) 726-2927.
Many students and faculty rolled up their sleeves on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 6 and 7, to participate in an on-campus blood drive held by LifeSouth Community Blood Bank. Samford director of student health services Shauna Yelton reports that 134 pints of blood were collected.
Many students found ways to help since the devastating hurricane and flooding, such as unloading trucks laden with supplies at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center Complex, which housed evacuees. Other Samford volunteers pitched in to help with child care, and to sit with and simply listen to people.
According to Angulus Wilson, who is coordinating the local volunteer effort, more than 500 students have expressed a desire to help in some way.
Students and faculty at Samford's McWhorter School of Pharmacy responded to the health care needs of evacuees in Birmingham shelters and special needs clinics.
Pharmacy faculty assisted with coordinating primary care services at the special medical needs clinic at the Birmingham Fairgrounds, and led efforts to organize a systematic way to meet prescription drug needs for those housed at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Complex Arena.
A total of 21 pharmacy faculty volunteered to provide 24/7 coverage in the clinics as needed. They were assisted by post-doctoral residents and student pharmacists, led by pharmacy faculty members Dr. Roger Lander and Dr. Michael Hogue.
"These efforts are directly related to the educational program of the school and are in alignment with our formal affiliation with the Jefferson County Health Department," said pharmacy dean Dr. Joseph O. Dean, Jr.
The efforts, he said, are structured to engage Samford pharmacy students in public health pharmacy practice experiences, and provide needed health care to underserved populations being serviced by the local health department clinics.
Dr. Lander was at a Bessemer shelter assisting a steady stream of evacuees, many of whom had run out of medicine and did not have prescriptions.
"We are doing assessments and writing prescriptions," he said, explaining that an official order by the Jefferson County Health chief officer cleared the way for the pharmacists to write prescriptions under these special circumstances.