Students partner with neighboring universities to fund Hurricane Harvey relief
As the waters of Hurricane Harvey begin to subside, Lee University students rise to assist those affected by the tragedy in Texas.
On the night of Aug. 23, the Category 4 hurricane hit the coast of Texas and submerged much of the Lone Star state’s largest city, Houston, in over 50 inches of water.
According to Campus Pastor Jimmy Harper, over 800 miles away, students at Lee University are able to feel the tragedy of the storm and understand what’s going on.
“We have some students from Texas, and we have lots of family connections in Texas who are dealing with difficulty because of Harvey and flooding,” Harper said.
In response, the student body at Lee is doing its part to help — both by donating blood and giving money.
In one of last week’s Conn Center Chapel services, following a performance by the Voices of Lee, students were encouraged to donate money to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey.
“We are also working with Blood Assurance to have students donate blood,” Pastor Harper said.
These are “easy and realistic way[s] for students to get involved” said Associate Professor of Public Relations Dr. Andrea Phillips.
Dr. Phillips noted the importance of not limiting our contributions to just the immediate victims within Houston, but to partner with other universities, especially those in the affected area.
“We should think about if and how we might be able to encourage, pray for, and help them in particular,” said Dr. Phillips. “Lee University might be able to understand those needs and might be able to help in ways that your average relief agency may not.”
Lee University is sending out a message of compassion, alongside other Tenn. universities such as Lipscomb and Vanderbilt.
In a statement on Aug. 28, Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos encouraged the entire Vanderbilt community to respond with compassion and sympathy.
“We are ready to help as you navigate the challenges caused by this unprecedented disaster,” said Chancellor Zeppos.
According to Dr. Phillips, Lee is in a unique position as a Christian university.
“Obviously, as Christians, we do have a responsibility to respond,” said Pastor Harper, referencing Ephesians 2:10 and Micah 6:8. “If we follow Jesus, we must learn to respond to those in need because he certainly did.”
While the disaster of Hurricane Harvey is a time to mourn with those affected, it is also an opportunity to use our insight and purpose, said Dr. Phillips.
“In crises, people are often more open to considering alternative ideas and thinking about spiritual things than they are when things are calm,” noted Dr. Phillips. “We believers can have opportunities to share the message of the Gospel as well as the message of hope.”