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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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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Aggies United assist in Hurricane Ike relief effort

Nineteen members of Aggies United took a trip to Port Arthur to rebuild houses that were damaged by Hurricane Ike over winter break.
Their effort was similar to the trip they took to New Orleans in 2005 to help rebuild houses that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
They teamed up with Habitat for Humanity and took on the task of rebuilding two homes in the area. The volunteers took part in building the frames of the houses, putting up siding, painting the houses and other various tasks.
“When we first decided that we were going to go down to the coast to help with Hurricane Ike relief, there was a lot of talk about how everything was going to look, even months after the hurricane had hit,” said Lynley Lovelace, vice president of Aggies United and senior physical education major. “We really thought it would look better, but the entire area was just devastated.”
There were two other groups working with Aggies United, including a group of students from Michigan State University.
Before the group went to the coast to begin the rebuilding process, Aggies United hosted the “Hire Initiative” (Hurricane Ike Relief Effort), which was a clothing, food, and baby necessity drive benefiting those affected by the hurricane. There were competitions between 10 groups within the organization to see who could raise the most clothing and food for donation. The top three groups received full funding for their trips to the coast.
“After seeing the damage to all of the houses, it was heartbreaking to know that so many people had been affected,” Lovelace said. “But people gave up part of their Christmas break to volunteer and hearing the stories of those who were affected helped us to work harder. We were all working towards a common goal and after seeing the before and after shots, we knew that we had made a difference.”
Sophomore communication major Caroline Burns said a friend’s house in the Galveston area was damaged by the hurricane.
“Although her family wasn’t directly affected by the work that Aggies United did, I know that they appreciate the effort that they put into rebuilding the community as a whole,” Burns said.
Senior landscape architecture major Chase Schuhard hosted a friend who was a student at Texas A&M Galveston while they were repairing the school.
“Although he enjoyed his time here in College Station while groups such as Aggies United were working with the people down there, he was ready to get back to his friends in Galveston and survey the damage done by the storm,” Schuhard said.
Lovelace said Aggies United has members from Kenya, Panama, Egypt and all over the U.S.
“It’s very interesting to talk to these people who are so different yet all share the same Aggie bond,” Lovelace said.

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