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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggies unite to help with hurricane relief efforts

Leaders+from+across+campus+work+together+to+coordinate+relief+efforts+for+those+affected+by+Hurricane+Harvey.
Photo by Photo by Gracie Mock

Leaders from across campus work together to coordinate relief efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

What started as an idea turned into a viral Tweet within the Aggie Twitter community as leaders of campus organizations joined together to create a group to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Greta Swift, sport management senior and the vice president of the Obstacle Course Racing Team, said the idea came to her as she felt helpless about what she could do to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey. She thought about the strength of the Aggie Network, her idea clicking into place with the thought of Big Event and sent out her tweet at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 27.
Swift said she didn’t think it would take off the way it did, but within 10 minutes of the post she had response from numerous leaders and made the call to Student Body President Bobby Brooks to begin coordination of the nearly 115 organizations.
“Basically what everybody’s been doing is organizing several different events, we’re trying to organize supply drives and a service project and it’s moving in a slow manner, but the chaos is slowly being resolved,” Swift said.
The effort, simply dubbed BTHO Harvey, already has numerous organizations involved, including the football team, Big Event, Aggie Network Ambassadors, resident advisors, as well as fraternities, sororities and other service groups.
Austin Erickson, industrial distribution senior and member of Alpha Tau Omega said he has been part of Swift’s effort since the beginning,initially adding campus leaders and those they thought would be supportive of the relief efforts to a GroupMe.
“We just threw in any leaders of other organizations with the assumption that they would be more than willing to help in any way and motive their specific organizations to help out as well,” Erickson said. “It’s been a real good communication source of all the student organizations on how we’re gonna help this big problem.”
Chris Riggins, recreation, parks and tourism senior and Aggie Network Student Ambassador, saw the tweet and that Swift was organizing campus leaders and decided to join.
“I just kinda felt like I was kinda useless, just sitting here not able to help, I didn’t know how to help or where my talents could best be put to use and I wanted to help out,” Riggins said. “Whenever I found out that there was a group of students who felt the same way and wanted to do whatever they could to help out, I just wanted to get involved in that.”
Swift said there is now a group of eight to 10 leaders coordinating with local branches of the Red Cross, the College Station City Council and other local groups to focus their efforts.
“We’re trying to stay local with our efforts and not go into Houston,” Swift said. “We’re trying to help the local community and donate supplies to Houston and money to Houston.”
The decision to stay local came from the organizations being campus organizations, which restricts them in terms of transportation and more, according to Erickson.
“We’re trying not to be an official group, but more of a guidance on where and how to help or to group up with other people that want to help,” Erickson said.
Along with the needs of necessity like blankets, pillows and first aid kits, Erickson said financial donations are greatly needed as people are being relocated.
“The biggest need currently would be financial donations, that’s what the Red Cross has been telling us,” Erickson said. “What they really need is financial donations that can be sent to get those exactly what they need, straight to those places rather than having these physical objects that need to be towed or hauled away or stored.”
Riggins said there will be many opportunities for Aggies to help out, including donations of items such as canned goods or clothing at drop off locations.
“I know there’s gonna be some blood drives on campus, we’re working on getting one together right now and there will be blood donations centers open around town and the Red Cross is definitely gonna need a supply of blood,” Riggins said.
A website, bthoharvey.org, has been created and will serve as a place for Aggies to go to get more info on the relief efforts and donate.
Brooks said he is glad to see the number of Aggies willing to take part in these relief efforts.
“We have such a special spirit here at Texas A&M, and this is one of those times that it shows the most,” Brooks said. “I’m very excited to see how much Aggies can accomplish for this state when it needs us.”
Check out the website, or their social media pages, @bthoharvey on Twitter, and BTHO Harvey 2017 on Facebook for more information.

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