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Trojan Family pulls together to support victims, families

by Sharon Stewart

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, USC students, faculty and staff have pulled together to show their support for victims and their families.

“Many student groups and individuals are coming in wanting to do something,” said Heather Larabee, director of campus activities. The International Student Assembly held a fund-raising Concert of Hope, the Greek system is asking each member to donate a dollar to a fund for victims, and hundreds of people are lining up to donate blood, she said.

Bradford King, director of the Student Counseling Service, said students are channeling their hurt, anger and confusion into activism.

“They are donating blood, giving money, going to religious services, generally reaching out and talking to each other,” King said. “All of this is appropriate and, I think, should be encouraged.” Only four students have asked for counseling related to the crisis, King said.

The week before the attacks, just 10 people volunteered to give blood at the University Park Campus, said Sandy Hibarger, donor recruitment representative at USC’s Blood Donor Center.

“Last Wednesday, I had to turn 170 people away; we were just bombarded,” Hibarger said. “At the Health Sciences Campus, people waited up to two hours.” About 146 pints of blood were collected from both campuses in one day, Hibarger said.

An additional blood drive was held in the basement of the Topping Student Center on Tuesday, Sept. 18; another is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 25. At HSC, a drive will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in the lobby of the Hoffman Building.

The response to the attacks has been so great that the Student Senate is trying to help student groups coordinate their efforts by working together, Larabee said.

“We are asking everyone to stop by a table on Trousdale Parkway or to come to the Student Senate offices to make an origami crane. We want to make at least 1,000 cranes and unveil them Tuesday, Oct. 2, as symbols of peace.”

The senate plans to hang the cranes in the Student Commons. The group also plans to produce a slide show.

“It will be a memorial that includes newscasts of the disaster and reports on the survivors, all the way down to what we as the USC community are doing because of the attack,” Larabee said.

The Student Senate is also coordinating a fund drive, Larabee said.

“People and student groups can write out a check to the United Way, Salvation Army, Feed the Children or the American Red Cross, and send it to the Student Senate through campus mail,” Larabee said. “We will mail all the checks we collect from USC to the agencies of their choice,” she said.

United Ministry, a campus-based coalition of five denominations, also wants to do its part, said director Dianne Kenney.

“We are giving out green ribbons to everyone who is interested in demonstrating their grief about this tragedy and their commitment to peace,” Kenney said. “The green symbol – as opposed to the U.S. flag – is intended to cross national boundaries. This way everyone can stand with all who are seeking construction of the twin towers of peace and justice.”