Hurricane Harvey Can’t Mess With AU Texans
Club takes action to fundraise for Hurricane Harvey victimsBy Belén Bonilla | 9/13/17 7:46am | Updated 9/16/17 1:31pm
There’s a saying down South – “Don’t mess with Texas."
The saying rings true for AU students who hail from the Lone Star state, especially amid Hurricane Harvey’s recent path of devastation along the Gulf Coast. Despite being over 1,500 miles away from home, AU Texans are uniting to fundraise on campus and through social media platforms for Hurricane Harvey victims.
In doing so, the AU Texans Club will join the thousands of ordinary Texans who have partnered with state and local non-profit organizations in aiding coastal residents as part of a statewide effort to remain “Texas strong.”
The first round of fundraising will take place on Sept. 14 from 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. at the Student Involvement Fair, where the club will be collecting donations. All donations collected from the AU Texans Club will be distributed to the Houston Food Bank, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, the Hurricane Harvey LGBTQ+ Disaster Relief Fund and the Houston ISD Fund.
For Chris Abbott, a junior at the University and lieutenant president of the AU Texans Club, Thursday’s fundraiser is only the beginning.
“We’re going to be working with student government to launch a fundraiser that we’ll be co-sponsoring with them,” Abbott said. “We also plan to partner with restaurants like Cava and District Taco to host a fundraising night, where 10-20% of the money from meals purchased will go to Hurricane Harvey victims.”
Abbott himself is a non-Texan hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico, but is of the mind that even non-Texans have a role in supporting the Texan community at AU. In fact, this was the intent of Jeremy Duchin, founder of the AU Texans Club who graduated in May 2017.
“The club is open to non-Texans, or ‘Texan enthusiasts’ as I called them,” Duchin said. “The best thing they can do right now is donate. Socks, underwear, toiletries, feminine products – when you don’t have access to money or your house, it’s tough to get around to those things.”
Duchin’s vision for the AU Texans Club was to extend Texan culture to AU students, but in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the club has taken on a new mission. “I didn’t think when I founded the club that [fundraising] would be encompassed in the role that it plays on campus, but I couldn’t be happier,” Duchin said. “Obviously the devastation is horrifying… it’s nice to know I started something that has some sort of capacity to bring people together to help make a difference.”
In addition to fundraising, the AU Texans Club has helped diffuse a message of support from Fanta Aw, Interim Vice President of Campus Life through their social media platforms.
“We are reaching out to offer support to students who we know have home addresses in Texas,” Aw said in her statement on Aug. 28. “We have all seen the devastation of Hurricane Harvey on the Gulf Coast of Texas and understand that some of your families and friends may have been affected and are still being affected as the rains and flooding continue. If there is anything we can do to support you at this difficult time, please reach out to us.”
For Texans and ‘Texan enthusiasts’ alike, AU students can rest assured knowing that the Texan community on campus is taking action to support the dozens of AU families affected by Hurricane Harvey’s path of devastation.