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UTC responds to Katrina

UTC students, faculty and staff have found a variety of ways to assist evacuees of Hurricane Katrina.

Displaced students enrolled at UTC

Governor Phil Bredesen extended an invitation to higher education students at universities and colleges damaged by the hurricane to enroll at Tennessee’ campuses. As of Friday, September 16, 26 students had enrolled at UTC from campuses such as Tulane, University of New Orleans, and Dillard. For information, contact the UTC Admissions Office or the Tennessee Government. The University provided the setting for a meeting with Bredesen, local government leaders and emergency management personnel on Wednesday, September 7.


UTC students, faculty and staff enjoy
lunch and raise Katrina funds.
UTC Student Government Association (SGA) raised $616 when students, faculty and staff enjoyed a New Orleans style lunch. Thanks to Aramark, the campus food services vender, for donating all the good eats. “The lunch was so successful, we ran out of food,” said SGA President Amy Prevost, who says SGA will continue to collect money for “Chattanooga Helps Katrina” through Homecoming Week.

The NAACP Talent Show drew a capacity crowd, and proceeds from the event added $490 plus lots of clothing, and canned foods for Katrina evacuees.

“Collection buckets have been extended until Friday, September 30th in Student Development,” said Prevost. “We want to encourage everyone who has not made a donation to add their support for Katrina evacuees.”

Tyler Anderson (left), a sophomore from Palmer, Tennessee and member of Kappa Sigma fraternity at UTC, sorts through donated school supplies. Kappa Sigma assisted WTCI-TV45 in collecting over $15,000 in school supplies for local students that were displaced by Hurricane Katrina. WTCI and Kappa Sigma volunteered at Wal-Marts on Hwy. 153, Gunbarrel Road and Brainerd Road collecting school supplies. Everything from notebook paper and glue to compasses and protractors were collected and sent to local school systems.

A group of 25 University Honors students have volunteered at the Chattanooga Housing Authority on Holtzclaw Avenue to help relocate families who are victims of Hurricane Katrina. The students responded to a request from the Chattanooga Housing Authority for volunteers to help the families with paperwork, shopping for furniture and other items at the warehouse, as well as packing, and moving them and their belongingsto new quarters in public housing from their current temporary shelters.

At the Presbyterian House, Pastor David Burke says a campus wide clothing drive headed by UTC student Sarah Frassrand has yielded an abundance of donations for hurricane evacuees. Burke says the Presbyterian House is also organizing work trips to the hurricane area over both fall and spring breaks. For more information, call Burke at 265-2227.

Delta Sigma Theta sorority has adopted a family hard hit by Hurricane Katrina. They are busy collecting money and taking care of the family's needs.

Campus organizations National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Interfraternity Conference are working together to collect money for the American Red Cross, designated for hurricane victims.


Student athletes collect money for relief fund.
The Baptist Collegiate Ministry took a 24-foot truck filled with non-perishable food items, diapers, toilet paper, toiletries, and clothing to help Hebron Baptist Church of Bush, Louisiana feed 100 hurricane evacuees three meals a day.

Thirty UTC student athletes took up a collection for hurricane victims that netted $2,049 at the UTC Mocs home opener on Saturday, September 3 at Finley Stadium. The money was taken to the American Red Cross.

Faculty and staff notes

Tom Bissonette, Counseling and Career Planning, has lead an Adult Debriefing Group for evacuees in their temporary housing. He has also assisted in serving meals to local evacuees.

Linda Hill, recently a new faculty member in the UTC School of Nursing, and her husband joined the Red Cross to assist hundreds in a triage area set up in Memphis. Read a full account here.

Dr. Kristi A. Gibbs, Graduate Studies Division has been busy in shelters in Opelousa, Louisiana, in St. Landry Parish. There, Gibbs has been using play therapy to address the needs of young Hurricane Katrina survivors. She said she has been surprised at their resilience. Along with two colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, Gibbs engaged the children in outdoor games, and guided artwork. “They are so happy to be back at school,” Gibbs said. Gibbs said it is a little early to be looking for signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, since symptoms usually begin to be manifested thirty days after the trauma. “We are advising parents that after thirty days, if their child becomes more aggressive or has trouble sleeping, they should be more concerned. My first suggestion would be for the child to see the school counselor,” Gibbs said. Gibbs and her colleagues have served as the only counselors at the shelters. She describes the experience as “very rewarding,” and thanks her UTCcolleagues Dr. Robin Lee and Dr. Ginny Magnus for “stepping up to the plate” and taking over her classes. Read an online article about Gibbs' work by dailyworld.com.

Dr. Valerie L. Radu, LCSW, ABD, Coordinator of the Social Work Program, has been working with the Red Cross to coordinate local professional social workers to provide social services and mental health services at the Chattanooga shelter and at the Family Assistance Center. To date, approximately 20 social workers have volunteered their time. Additionally, she has worked with the Partnership for Families, Children, and Adults to facilitate a weekly meeting with these social workers for training and debriefing purposes.

Dr. Cathie Smith, Acting Head, Physical Therapy Program, went into action at the South Chattanooga Recreation facility, helping to register and work in conjunction with the medical team to evaluate and provide direct care services for evacuees with special needs. Of the 120 evacuees who were housed at the facility, a number of seniors needed special assistance. “I was able to use my skills as a physical therapist to provide direct services related to falls risk assessment, environmental and equipment modifications, and assistance with ADLs as well as having the opportunity to help locate alternate housing for one individual who was intellectually challenged in the Orange Grove community residential program,” Smith said.

Rabbit Zielke, Weekend Manager at WUTC, has volunteered at the Housing Authority warehouse, where the work is taxing, but according to Zielke, “it is rewarding.”

Dr.Robin Lee, Graduate Studies Division, has helped organize and coordinate counseling students to assist in local efforts supporting evacuees. The group met with the Red Cross to plan volunteer efforts.

Yvonne Kilpatrick, Physical Therapy, and her husband are volunteering to assist evacuees at the city shelter.

Steve Nikkel, COPC Coordinator, and Dr. Tom Buchanan, Sociology, have volunteered at the Chattanooga Housing Authority warehouse.

Dr. Beth Dodd, Director of Continuing Education, has been busy coordinating efforts to find clothing, shoes, transportation and meals for hurricane evacuees who have come to her neighborhood.

Katie Harbison, Continuing Education, and her friend Charlotte Smith volunteered at the CHA warehouse on Holztclaw Avenue over Labor Day weekend. “The funny thing was, that when she got there, Katie discovered that her Mom and Dad were also there to volunteer. Service must run in the family,” said Beth Dodd, Director of Continuing Education.

Dr. Joe Dumas, a faculty member Computer Science, collected water, food and supplies on campus for hurricane victims in Mississippi. He and his wife delivered the supplies over the Labor Day weekend. Read his firsthand account of their trip.

Get Involved

Make financial contributions to the charity of your choice or to the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and designate your gift for the Katrina Relief Fund. Mail contributions to:

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga
1270 Market Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402

For: Katrina Relief Fund

If you have housing units you will allow evacuees to use, call the Hurricane Information line at 211 or with a cell phone at 256-8000.

If you wish to volunteer please call the Hurricane Information line at 211 or with a cell phone at 256-8000.

Chattanooga businesses with job opportunities for evacuees should call the Hurricane Information line at 211 or with a cell phone on 265-8000.

Get Help

Evacuated Gulf Coast residents in need of medical assistance should call the Hurricane Information line at 211 or with a cell phone on 265-8000. Those who need emergency medical assistance should call 911.

The business community is rallying to find employment for Katrina evacuees in need of a job. The Chattanooga Can-Do Jobs Fair will be held on Thursday, September 22 at Hamilton Place Mall from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Over 100 businesses seeking to fill nearly 500 jobs will be represented. If you’re a Katrina evacuee looking for a job, the Chattanooga Can-Do Jobs Fair is the place to be on September 22. For more information, go to the Chattanooga Chamber website.

Those looking for family members should use the Red Cross family registry website at or call 1-877-Loved1S (1-877-568-3317).

If you are providing assistance to evacuees it is possible that you may be reimbursed for some expenses.For information call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA.

September 23, 2005

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