As the scope of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina became clear, the Bronfman Center at NYU immediately mobilized and sent a delegation of eight student volunteers to Houston, Texas to work with evacuees.
The students worked day and night in the evacuee centers, distributing food, organizing supplies, and providing an ear for guests who needed to talk. Through their work in the Houston Convention Center, the Astrodome and the Reliant Center, students were able to provide hands on service to people in need. They spent time registering individuals in databases on their laptop computers and conducted research which led to four families reconnecting with their missing loved ones. Most powerful was the time that students spent connecting personally with the evacuees, at times providing emotional support, and at times being uplifted by their strength and spirit.
The students who volunteered in Houston say that their lives have been forever changed. They returned to campus with hundreds of photos and hours of video which they will use to inspire other students to get involved in the relief effort. Plans are underway for a benefit concert, a supply drive, a gallery exhibit, and several speaking engagements.
The trip was made possible through the partnership of Houston Hillel, and the generous support of Edgar Bronfman, The New York Board of Rabbis and other friends of the Bronfman Center.
The Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life
New York University