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University community continues to assist hurricane victims


BLACKSBURG, Va., Sept. 16, 2005 – Virginia Tech students, staff, and faculty continue to demonstrate a strong bond with residents of the Gulf region who are victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Hokies United, a student-driven volunteer group that formed following the September 11 terrorist attacks to respond to local, national, and international tragedies that impact students and the university community, is spearheading efforts to coordinate fundraising and other activities related to the relief effort.

"Our effort will support members of the Hokie community who have been devastated by this disaster," said Sumeet Bagai, Student Government Association president and organizer of the current Hokies United initiative. "Our primary goal is to raise $250,000 by Dec. 1, and to provide these monetary contributions to the American Red Cross to support their ongoing work in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama."

"For this drive to be successful, we are going to need the active involvement of other individuals and groups in the Virginia Tech community," said Bagai, a senior majoring in management in the Pamplin College of Business "And we are particularly interested in hearing from those who are willing to volunteer at upcoming fundraising events, and groups that may be interested in sponsoring an event on behalf of Hokies United."

The main point of contact for the Hokies United initiative is the group's website, http://www.hokiesunited.org.vt.edu, where volunteers can register to participate and groups can announce planned fundraising activities and report totals of contributions received.

Katrina relief events already held or being planned by Hokies United include:

==> Kickoff concert and pep rally, held on Thursday, Sept. 15, and organized by the Class of 2007, Student Alumni Association, and Virginia Tech Union for the benefit of the Hokies United hurricane relief campaign.

==> Kash for Katrina: Collection of monetary donations at the Virginia Tech vs. Ohio University football game on Saturday, Sept. 17. Student volunteers with identifiable collection buckets will solicit contributions at set locations near the Lane Stadium gates and throughout the tailgate areas.

==> Fall Festival Run: All proceeds donated to Hurricane Katrina Relief. One-mile fun run on Sunday, Sept. 18, starts at noon and 5K run starts at 1 p.m. Races are open to students, faculty, staff, and the general public. All runners receive a T-shirt. Pre-registration is $5 for the fun run and $15 for the 5K Run. On race day, the fee is $10 for the fun run and $18 for the 5K. Sponsored by University Sportswear and Student Crew. Contact Ali Arner at aarner@vt.edu or (540) 231-6856 for more information.

==> A-Capella benefit concert hosted by Juxtaposition (http://www.vtjuxta.com) featuring Soulstice, Mixed Emotions, Sensations, Naturally Sharp, and Juxtaposition will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in Burruss Hall Auditorium. A $5 minimum donation is suggested. Juxtaposition is challenging all the Greek organizations and major student organizations to meet its donation of $500 or to notify the group of any previous or ongoing efforts to help those affected by the hurricane, so they can be properly recognized.

To learn more about these and other Hokie United events, or to volunteer to assist the Hokies United relief efforts, visit the organization's web site at http://www.hokiesunited.org.vt.edu, or contact Sumeet Bagai, Student Government Association president at sbagai@vt.edu.



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