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Campus Life

Help Now will coordinate University relief efforts

Jeremy Yanofsky(CAS'06), left, and Ben Dauksewicz (CAS'07) are two of the leaders of Help Now, the student group coordinating hurricane relief efforts on campus.

For members of the BU community wondering how to aid hurricane victims, the new student group Help Now has the answer: celebrate Mardi Gras a few months early.

Help Now, formed last week to coordinate the University’s relief efforts on the Charles River Campus, will kick off its fundraising campaign today by selling Mardi Gras beads, shipped here from Louisiana, for $2 in the George Sherman Union and at student events such as tonight’s Roller Disco party in the Fitness and Recreation Center. The group’s first public meeting will be held on Monday, September 19, at 5:30 p.m. in the Academy Room of the GSU.

“We wanted to make something official,” says Help Now’s president, Ben Dauksewicz (CAS’07), “so if people wanted to help they knew where to go.”

Help Now — which is run by Dauksewicz, vice-president Megan McElfresh (SAR’07), secretary Jeremy Yanofsky (CAS’06), and treasurer Ashley Krohn (COM’06) — is intended to provide aid for both Boston University students affected by Hurricane Katrina, including those from Tulane University, and people in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. Funds raised will go to the American Red Cross and the recently-established University Emergency Student Aid Fund.

The group is still in the brainstorming stage, Dauksewicz says, but plans include a mixer between BU and Tulane students, a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity to build new housing for hurricane victims, and a silent auction featuring Cajun-style food and jazz music. In addition, group leaders are working with students from other Student Activities organizations to orchestrate benefit concerts and performances.

Other efforts taking place around the University include an ongoing fundraising drive by the Student Committee on Medical School Affairs at the School of Medicine; students have been collecting money in the MED lobby and will be there today as well. Another student organization, the Student National Medical Association, raised $560 during a two-day fundraiser for hurricane relief last week, and students at the Goldman School of Dental Medicine have raised $453 to date.

While Help Now was established specifically to help hurricane victims, Yanofsky says they intend to remain active on a long-term basis to coordinate University relief efforts when major disasters occur.

“We need people to volunteer whenever they can,” he says.