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President's Message | Archive

September 2, 2005

TO: Campus Community
FROM: Cornelius Kerwin
SUBJECT: American University Relief Efforts for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

The magnitude of the tragedy caused by Hurricane Katrina to the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama has prompted an outpouring of support from the American University community. Our deepest sympathy goes to those affected by this national disaster. True to our university’s tenet of “ideas into action, action into service,” a number of efforts to help have been launched by students, faculty, and staff, as well as targeted program responses through the university deans and vice presidents.

Through this memo, I update you on some initiatives underway on campus, which may foster other ideas for assistance. We will ensure that additional information is reported to you through the university’s communications outlets, such as Today@AU, the American Weekly, the Eagle, and the AU Web site. I commend all members of the AU community for your heartfelt desire to assist those in need, and encourage you to become involved in efforts of support.

Academic/Program Assistance

Students from the Gulf Coast – A number of students from the Gulf Coast will be attending programs at American University on a space available basis because their own institutions have been affected. This includes students interested in the Washington Semester Program and the Washington College of Law; students originally accepted to AU as freshmen or transfers (destined elsewhere) who now wish to reconsider; and students who want to attend AU on a nondegree basis while their institutions are closed. These are just a few of the AU programs fielding inquiries and some of the initiatives being taken.

Students from the affected areas who are interested in attending American University on a space available basis should contact the Office of Admissions (202-885-6000), which will direct the inquiry to the appropriate department. Law school inquiries may be directed to the WCL admissions office (202-274-4101) or by e-mail to Students admitted as freshmen or transfer students and who now seek readmission to AU will be handled by the Admissions office. We appreciate the extra efforts by AU program administrators, admissions, orientation, and housing services officials to accommodate these requests.

Volunteer Efforts and Information

The Office of the Vice President for Campus Life, Dean of Students Office, Community Service Center, Kay Spiritual Life Center, and Student Activities – All have Red Cross information and the FEMA list of organizations accepting contributions for hurricane relief on their Web sites. AU has a student chapter of the Red Cross, and its leaders are arranging AUTO van transportation to the Red Cross center in Fairfax in need of volunteers to help answer the help lines. The Community Service Center will post other opportunities for volunteers as they arise.

WAMU 88.5 FM – In addition to its own regular programming and news reports from National Public Radio that focus on the disaster and local and national relief efforts, the station Web site includes related links to support agencies. WAMU is airing its “Community Minute” six times per day to give assistance information, and the regular “Hot Jazz Saturday Night” program (7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) on Sept. 3 will be devoted to the music of New Orleans and how listeners can help the relief effort.

Campus Activities

The annual “Celebrate AU” event, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 7, will include the opportunity for community members to drop off items needed by Gulfport veterans being relocated to veterans’ facilities in Washington, D.C. The wish list of items needed is available at Click on Donation List.

A “Service of Reflection” for victims of Hurricane Katrina will be held from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 7 in Kay Chapel and will follow “Celebrate AU.” After the service, participants will be invited to stay for an open forum to discuss additional ways for the AU community to assist in hurricane relief efforts.

The Student Government is working on a number of initiatives. Check their Web site,, for updates.

AU Student Support

Students who are personally affected by the tragedy and in need of support are encouraged to contact the Dean of Students Office (202-885-3300) or the Counseling Center (202-885-3500). The Counseling Center Web site also includes helpful resources,

October 10, 2005 10:03 PM


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