Cougars Care

How are UH Cougars helping each other and their community recover from Hurricane Ike? Read the facts, the figures and the stories ...

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Hurricane Ike Relief Fund

last updated date: 09/18/08

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To help faculty, staff and students who have suffered extensive damages in the recent storm, the University of Houston is establishing the Cougars Helping Cougars Hurricane Ike Relief Fund.

Faculty, staff, students, administrators and alumni are being asked to make tax-deductible charitable donations to assist UH students, employees and their eligible dependents.

A committee is being formed to establish rules and guidelines for the fund and to establish criteria for the disbursement of the donations. Because the need is great, the university will begin collecting donations immediately.

Gifts can be made in the form of checks, money orders, credit cards, or in the case of employees, through payroll deductions.

Read about ways to give.

In addition, the university has established two centers to collect donations:

  • University Center Underground, Room 52, the site of the former Copy Center.
  • Lamar Fleming Jr. Building, rooms 136 and 138

Items of need include non-perishable food, clothes, textbooks and other books, toiletries, school supplies, toys, portable entertainment systems, television, stereos, CDs, videos, DVDs and gift cards for retail stores.

The donation centers will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday (Sept. 19) and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday of next week.

The centers will be staffed by volunteers from the Student Alumni Connection and the Student Government Association, as well as interested faculty, staff and students. To volunteer, contact Simon Bott, Director of Undergraduate Affairs and Advising in Chemistry, at sbott@uh.edu.

"Think of the things a person would need if he or she was displaced to a hotel for a month," Bott said. "Anything that would help someone cope during these trying times would be welcomed and appreciated as we come together as a community to provide assistance."

Dynamo Assisted at UH POD Site Friday

last updated date: 09/22/08

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Houston Dynamo players and staff assisted at a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Point of Distribution (POD) on Friday, Sept. 19 from 1-5 p.m. outside of the University of Houston's Robertson Stadium. UH President Renu Khator and hundreds of UH student volunteers participated in the relief effort.

Dynamo players and staff members assisted FEMA officials in passing out emergency supplies and relief items to those affected by Hurricane Ike. The POD was located in the parking lot on the west side of Robertson Stadium, along Scott St. Players scheduled to appear included team captain Wade Barrett, midfielders Stuart Holden and Brad Davis, and defenders Eddie Robinson and Richard Mulrooney.

WHO: Houston Dynamo players and staff, including:
Captain Wade Barrett
Defender Eddie Robinson
Defender Richard Mulrooney
Midfielder Stuart Holden
Midfielder Brad Davis

Hurricane Ike Appreciation Event

last updated date: 09/18/08

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UH leadership is hosting a special recognition at the Oct. 9 UH football game to honor all who went above and beyond the call of duty to protect and secure the University from Hurricane Ike.

This event will also include those who helped the University in its recovery from the storm and those who volunteered at the POD center. Please provide the names of faculty, staff and/or students from your area who contributed to these efforts.

These individuals will be provided complimentary tickets to the UH vs. UAB game, commemorative t-shirts and recognition by the President at half-time.

Please forward names to Laura Stewart at lcstewart@uh.edu or contact Human Resources at 713-743-3689 by September 23, 2008.

Thank you in advance for your support in helping to make this event a success and helping UH recognize all those who demonstrated their dedication and loyalty to the University.

Showers Available for UH Faculty, Staff, Students

last updated date: 09/18/08

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Because so many faculty, staff and students have suffered damage to their homes and are without power, the Division of Student Affairs is inviting those individuals who would like to take showers during the day to use the showers at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC). For safety's sake, we ask that you be prepared to present your faculty, staff and/or student identification card. Also, we ask that you bring your own towel, washcloth and soap. The CRWC will be open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 19; and from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 20.

By the Numbers

last updated date: 09/18/08

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On Tuesday, Sept. 16, the day that the campus re-opened and classes resumed:
98 percent of the Plant Operations
staff members were back on the job
100 percent of the Dining Halls staff reported to work
Of the 25 Honors College classes scheduled to meet,
all but four were held
On Wednesday, Sept. 17:
Power was restored to the last student residence hall (Cullen Oaks) that was without electricity.
On Sept. 18 & 19:
950 UH student volunteers staffed the Point of Distribution relief effort held in Robertson Stadium parking lot, handing out 144,000 liters of water, 480,000 pounds of ice and 65,000 ready-to-eat meals to over 35,000 Hurricane Ike victims. Cougars loaded an average of 400 cars per hour with supplies!

UH Served as POD Center

last updated date: 09/22/08

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The University of Houston served as a Point of Distribution (POD) center September 18 and 19, providing water, ice and packaged meals to the public.

Houston Rockets players and staff will joined the Hurricane Ike relief effort by distributing food and toiletry items at the University of Houston's POD site.

Team owner Leslie Alexander and the Rockets organization, working with Feed the Children, purchased four semi trucks loaded with pre-packaged, non-perishable food and essential toiletry supplies that will be distributed to area residents.

The Rockets and Renu

last updated date: 09/18/08

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Video of President Renu Khator
interviewed by KHOU at the POD site

UH Reaching Out to the Community

last updated date: 09/18/08

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The UH College of Pharmacy will work through local hospitals and local pharmacies to provide its services, including medication counseling to individuals throughout the surrounding areas and Houston. Contact: 713-743-1300.

The College of Optometry's University Eye Institute, the College's main on-campus eye care facility, is fully operational and is providing care for patients with storm-related eye injuries. It is also providing rapid optical services to replace lost or broken spectacles and contact lenses. The University Eye Institute is open to the public for appointments, emergency eye care or information. Contact: 713-743-2020.

The Mobile Eye Institute is fully operational and available for deployment in coordination with the city of Houston to provide essential eye care services for displaced Houstonians.

The UH Law Center will have its Texas Consumer Complaint Center open around the clock, seven days a week, to receive questions and help with legal issues including landlord/tenant, employment, insurance and tree problems. Contact: Texas Complaint Center, 1-877-TEX-UHCC (877-839-8422).

The College of Technology will offer technical assistance to community service organizations as they rebuild their IT infrastructure. Contact: College of Technology IT Help.

The Cullen College of Engineering will provide services and resources to the greater Houston community through the Texas Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology, in conjunction with the College of Engineering faculty and the Center for Innovative Grouting Materials and Technology. Contact: 713-743-4278 or cvipulanandan@uh.edu. Services include:

  1. Inspect residential building or structural damages and recommend methods of repairs
  2. Inspect buildings for water/rain damage and recommend remediation
  3. Resources to work with TxDOT to review erosion and structural issues related to bridge columns, highways and retaining walls
  4. Conduct a survey on the issues related to hurricane preparedness and recovery in the Houston area
  5. Work with the city of Houston related to their water pipeline failures (ongoing research)
  6. Work with Galveston County, Brazoria County, and Harris County on their infrastructure problems (water, wastewater and streets)
  7. Test drinking water quality, if there is a critical need (as requested by the cities and counties)

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will provide consultation to mathematics and science teachers in public schools to help solve problems related to Hurricane Ike. Contact: 713-743-0961 or dprince@uh.edu.

Coping with Hurricane Ike: Law Center Snippets

last updated date: 09/18/08

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Hurricane Ike was an uninvited addition to the fall semester. But even without a syllabus, Law Center students somehow got through it in good shape. John Kling captured the following snippets from students in The Commons and other areas as classes resumed on Tuesday.

"Hey, if the old-time lawyers did it by candlelight, we can do it too."
Zach Lee, 1L

"If the biggest tree in Katy falls down, you just pick it up, put it in the trash can and move on."
Jessica Holleman, 2L

"At least the commute this morning was quicker than usual because there was no traffic."
Beatriz Thielen, LL.M

"We did fine. We got power back Saturday afternoon. We were very lucky."
Laura Leonetti, 2L

"I was out of power and water for a couple of days, but other than that, I'm OK."
Meng Tien Hsieh, 1L

SGA Joins Recovery Effort

By: Shayla LaMotte
The Daily Cougar

last updated date: 09/18/08

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In light of Hurricane Ike's devastation throughout many urban areas, the Student Government Association has joined volunteer committees to help the Houston community in its recovery.

The SGA brought assistance this week by responding to a City of Houston request of volunteers in a Hurricane Ike relief effort.

"Although many Houston residents are now living with no electricity, water or even monitoring severe housing conditions, many volunteers have put their personal obstacles on hold in order to help other Houston citizens regain their normalcy," SGA President Sam Dike said.

After the Point of Distribution site at Texas Southern University incurred an influx of volunteers Tuesday, SGA and UH volunteers reported to the POD at Ripley House, 4410 Navigation Blvd., in shuttles and vans to represent the Cougar Community Response Teams.

The volunteers passed out items donated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency team to those in need of assistance, which included a case of bottled water, two bags of ice and an emergency meal kit to each family waiting in block-long pedestrian or vehicle lines.

"I'm not as fortunate as some people, and I just want to give back," said mechanical engineering junior and hurricane relief volunteer Carmel Glumac. "I have food and water, but I know many people don't."

Twanna Proctor, who works as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer at Houston Hope, an organization that helps rebuild lower-income communities, admitted to needing similar supplies in her Humble home, but decided to lend a hand instead.

"They said we are looking at three weeks with no water or electricity," said Proctor, a mother of four. "I take bottled waters to work to freeze so my kids can get colder water, but it's OK, we're made strong we can survive. It's just selfish not to help others."

Along with overlooking personal setbacks, some volunteers felt this was a more productive way to use their spare time since classes and work have been cancelled for many.

"I heard about this relief through friends. I have spare time today, and I wanted to be progressive," said biology senior Jesse Valles, who volunteered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and return today and Friday.

First year social work graduate student Neha Neurekar decided to volunteer once her classes were cancelled and she was informed by her dean about the relief site.

"I figured I wasn't doing anything else, why not help the community?" said Neurekar, who brought along a friend who had been out of work all week.

After days of not being able to do anything because of roadblocks and curfews, many are just happy to be able to be out and view volunteering as a second benefit. Wednesday's relief effort had about 140 to 150 UH volunteers during its three-shift intervals.

As for relief seekers, despite the lines that started forming before sunrise, many returning volunteers noticed a significant decrease since Monday.

"This is the shortest I've ever seen the line," said Chris Varela, a member of the Department of Public Works and Engineering Materials Management. "Yesterday (the line) was three blocks. I think that since we are getting more power, people are (needing) less."

Joaquin Martinez, youth development manager of Ripley House and site relief coordinator, area said the neighborhood has been gaining electricity in patches, which could be the reason many people are not as bad off.

"(The shorter lines) are a testament that some things are getting back to order," Dike said. "We have made strides, but some people will need continued relief, and we still need to fix the necessary considerations for people who lost everything."

Although word has spread about the various distribution sites, many seeking relief have no way of obtaining news regarding assistance.

"We have no lights and no food. We found out by a relative," Wayside resident Serena Ybarra said. "I think this effort is really good. I appreciate that (students) are helping out too, and taking the time out."

Rev. Albert Brown of Trinity Gardens First Baptist Church said that along with no electricity he has dealt with mold from a tree that split the back wall of his family apartment.

"I'm one of those proud types. I tried to keep from coming down here, but I broke down and came," he said.

Several Houston entities have also taken personal interests in citywide relief efforts. Volunteers from the U.S. military, the Houston fire and police departments and pastors from Lakewood Church have worked at PODs.

"This is something Lakewood is supporting," said family therapist Jairo Moreno. "It's important to us because this is about the people and the community, and that is what Lakewood is about."

© Copyright 2008 The Daily Cougar