Hi 81 / Lo 73
|Volume 71, Issue 1,
Lourdes Castillo James Davis
Cougars should help displaced students adjust
The level of hospitality Houston has shown its injured neighbors to the east should make the citizens of this city proud. Anything less would have been unacceptable; nevertheless, the manner in which Houstonians have responded to refugees' needs has been inspiring.
Volunteers have worked countless hours and individuals have donated large amounts of clothes, food and money. At the University, members of the administration have been working to ensure displaced students will have a place to study and to stay should they decide to come to Houston.
That means even those UH students who didn't volunteer or donate will be affected by Hurricane Katrina as students from Louisiana and Mississippi begin taking classes here. For one, parking will be made a bit more difficult, something that didn't seem possible at the beginning of the semester. But when you consider the bigger picture, complaining about that is profoundly trivial at best.
It's easy to help any students who have fled flooded campuses for UH -- simply put forth a friendly attitude and offer to help them catch up by sharing notes. It's hard to fathom having your entire academic life turned upside-down in the span of a couple days, but small gestures -- like lending a sympathetic ear or walking someone to class -- from UH students will make our visitors feel much more at ease.
Of course, there are still volunteering options around town. This weekend, the rescue efforts at the Astrodome and Reliant Park had all the volunteers they needed for some shifts. But when the urgency of the situation fades back into routine for Houstonians, thousands of refugees will still be here.
It's a terrible thought, but helping victims as affected
areas begin recovering is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. The true
measure of the spirit of many volunteers will not be how hard they worked
the first weekend after the disaster, but how long they were able to sustain
their efforts to help the victims of the worst natural disaster to strike
the United States in decades.
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