Tuesday, May 22, 2018

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Students to help Hurricane Katrina victims during Memorial Day Weekend

Monday benefit dinner to serve as fundraiser

Re New Orleans will host a Benefit Dinner at 7 p.m. Monday in the Old Nelson Dining Room to help raise funds for its community service trip to New Orleans.

Re New Orleans is a group of 55 students who are passionate about helping Hurricane Katrina survivors. The students plan on taking a four-day trip to New Orleans in order to do community service during Memorial Day weekend, May 28-31.

The group plans to spend two days working with Habitat for Humanity and two days working with Gulf Coast organizations to clean up the recent oil spill.

Although Hurricane Katrina happened nearly five years ago, and many news outlets have stopped reporting on it in order to cover more recent natural disasters, there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done to clean up New Orleans.

"People are still homeless … people still don't have clean clothes to wear. We want to give them hope," said Kelsey Higgins, freshmen education major and Re New Orleans member. The dinner will feature video interviews of Re New Orleans members, a silent auction with gift certificates to Court Street businesses, and a slide show of Hurricane Katrina photographs.

The dinner will also feature a jazz band, a string quartet from the school of music, and a one-act play performed by the students from the School of Theater. Higgins and her sister also will perform Irish dancing in traditional costumes.

"This formal dinner is a reward, a thank you, given to those who have helped us and supported us through the planning of this community service project," said Michael Lupsa, sophomore communications study major and Re New Orleans member. 
Tickets cost $20 for students, $25 for faculty and staff, and a table of eight can be purchased for $160.

Re New Orleans will be selling tickets from noon to 5 p.m. on the first floor of Baker University Center. Tickets can also be purchased from John "Randy" Kitchens, residential coordinator of Residence Life South Green at kitchens@ohio.edu.

The trip will cost more than $15,000 for the entire group to go, which originally averaged out to nearly $300 per person; however, after numerous fundraising efforts, each group member has cut his or her out-of-pocket costs in half.

The group formed fall quarter under the leadership of Michael Korte, a senior theater major, however; serious planning for the service trip did not occur until early spring quarter. 

"One person's small idea has become a huge project that will help so many … By helping the Katrina victims we are helping ourselves," said Lupsa.

In addition to promoting their cause at OHIO, Re New Orleans hopes to get help from a celebrity who is a native of New Orleans. Re New Orleans has made a special video to send to Ellen DeGeneres in the hopes that she will come with them on their trip or at least draw attention to their cause on her TV show.

Re New Orleans has been financially supported by Ohio University's The Residents Action Council and the National Residence Hall Honorary.