It has been three weeks since Hurricane Katrina, now known to be one of the ten deadliest disasters to strike our nation, made landfall on the Gulf Coast. Three weeks and we are just beginning to estimate the scope of destruction and make sense of numbers that seem unfathomable.
700… 350,000… 200,000,000,000…
It is estimated that Katrina killed more than 700 and left more than 350,000 homeless, with nothing more than they might have been able to carry as they fled or were rescued from the storm. Rough numbers on the recovery have the total cost at more than $200 billion.
Where do we begin?
We begin with hope, and each day there are new signs of hope emerging from the Gulf Coast. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that tens of thousands of city residents could begin returning to their homes as early as Monday. Each of them has a new sense of hope for their future.
There is hope because the human spirit, the American spirit, is strong. This spirit is alive here on campus and very much a part of what makes the Colgate community special. The need is great and we will pull together to find ways in which we can help those affected by the storm work to recover.
Colgate first responded to the call for assistance by offering to take in college students displaced by Katrina, those whose campuses would have to be closed for the fall semester. We adopted the policy set by a national higher education coalition and endorsed by the leaders of the affected colleges. We now have two Tulane students on campus, embraced by the Colgate community while their Gulf Coast campus is readied for their return.
The COVE, SGA and Bookstore have been raising funds for the Red Cross. Benefit dinners, concerts, clothing and toy drives are being planned. We are making arrangements to send groups of students to Mississippi and Louisiana to help with the recovery.
The need is great and our spirit is strong. We will continue to work together as a community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni to find ways in which we can make an impact and we will keep those in need in our thoughts and prayers as we continue to share in the hope for their future.