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University Organizes Disaster Relief Efforts

Members of the University’s Disaster Relief Steering Committee gather at a community luncheon fundraiser to support relief efforts for those impacted by natural disasters in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, California, Puerto Rico and Mexico City. Front row, from left: Patricia Vaccaro, steering committee co-chair and director of Campus Ministries’ Center for Service and Social Justice; and Alexandra Maier, assistant director of annual giving. Middle row: Stan Zygmunt, director of news and media relations; University student Maeve Potter ’18, Rye, New York; and Jennifer Schwartz, DPT, faculty specialist in the Physical Therapy Department. Back row: Rev. Patrick Rogers, S.J., steering committee co-chair and executive director of the Jesuit Center; Toby Lovecchio, associate director of athletics; and Mark Murphy, director of sustainability. Committee members absent from photo are: University students Morgan Fetsock ’21, Scranton, and Rose Rosado Hernandez ’18, Bronx, New York; Rose Merritt, office manager, counseling center; and Helen Wolf, Ph.D., executive director for Campus Ministries.
November 28, 2017

A committee established by The University of Scranton’s interim president Rev. Herbert B. Keller, S.J., is pulling together the University’s efforts to help those affected by the string of natural disasters that occurred this semester.

“Given the breadth and depth of the needs … coupled with our community’s desire to help meet those needs, I have decided to establish a broadly representative Disaster Relief Steering Committee to help track, guide and channel our collective energies in the most impactful ways possible,” Fr. Keller wrote in a message to the University community in September just after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and Louisiana. Fr. Keller said the committee will “serve as a hub for campus efforts” in response to Hurricane Harvey and natural disasters, which have impacted Texas, Louisiana, Florida, California, Puerto Rico and Mexico City during this semester. He said the committee “will assist those on campus who wish to take on relief projects, help coordinate efforts, and chronicle our success.”

Rev. Patrick Rogers, S.J., executive director of the Jesuit Center, and Patricia Vaccaro, director of Campus Ministries’ Center for Service and Social Justice, are serving as co-chairs of the committee, which has been active throughout the fall semester raising funds to help with relief efforts. To date, more than $4,000 has been raised through collections at weekly Masses and other fundraisers such as a University-wide community luncheon of soup and bread held earlier in November on campus.

In January, students will participate in a domestic service trip to volunteer with recovery efforts organized by the St. Bernard Project in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In March, students will also volunteer with the Sr. Bernard Project for a spring break trip to Houston, Texas, to help with ground relief efforts there.

Departments and organization on campus have also been encouraged to organize relief efforts. One example under way is the University’s international student organization which is selling specially designed t-shirts and other items with proceeds supporting the relief effort.

The University’s disaster relief efforts were the subject of a WBRE-TV news story earlier in November.

 For additional information about, or to support the University’s disaster relief efforts, contact the Jesuit Center at 570-941-6480.

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he University’s Disaster Relief Steering Committee has raised more than $4,000 through collections at weekly Masses and other fundraisers held during the fall semester. Domestic service trips are planned in January and March to support recovery efforts in Louisiana and Texas.

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