Hawks Fly Together in Hurricane Relief Efforts

The University proves its slogan to be true with the new organization created to help Hurricane Sandy victims called Hawks Fly Together for Relief.

The Student Government Association (SGA) was the chosen student group to run the newfound program. “We didn’t want people going to the same group time after time. We just thought if there was one group that was the focal point and spearheaded the challenge, that it would be a little more organized,” said Patti Swannack, Vice President for Administrative Services.

Oscar Sanchez, the President of SGA, did not expect SGA to get chosen to monitor all of the relief efforts. He said, “The voice of the students we were glad to take on the responsibility to make sure that things ran in an organized manner.”

However, a person does not have to be a part of SGA to make a donation or hold a fundraiser. The sorority Delta Phi Epsilon was selling silicon bracelets before the Thanksgiving break in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. On the bracelets read the repeated motto for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, “Revive.Rebuild.Recover.”

Along with the bracelets being sold, the sorority was also selling donated items from Work Out World Gym (WOW). Kate Muller, the President of Delta Phi Epsilon, explained that their fundraiser would not have been as successful as it was if it were not for WOW. The sorority raised around $600, according to Muller.

Heather Kelly, the Assistant Director of Student Activities for Multicultural and Diversity Initiatives, said that there was also an event called Pie a Greek/Professor that was held on November 15 to raise money for Hawks Fly Together for Relief. She continued to say there have been donation drives going on as well in Pier Village and during a past hockey game.

“Most of the things that have happened so far have been more of the drive capacity than the event capacity,” said Heather Kelly. She explained that other events are coming up; it has just been difficult for people to pull together quickly. There is one big event the program is working on for December.

On December 14, the Wave of Hope Benefit Concert will be held in Anacon Hall. Kelly Craig, the Vice President of SGA and the Chair of the benefit concert, explained that there are going to be about seven or eight bands performing throughout the night along with students talking about their experience with the hurricane and how the University has helped them. There will also be vendors selling items to raise money and donation drives.

Craig said that it is a night to bring students together and try to raise as much money and collect as much items as possible for Hurricane Sandy sufferers.

Another way to help through Hawks Fly Together for Relief is volunteering. Elizabeth Kelly, graduate student, helped out with the volunteer opportunities. She said, “People really are seeking ways to help but you’ve go to be careful and go to something organized rather than just go to a town with a bunch of shovels.” The program created by the University allows people to volunteer in a safe way.

Heather Kelly explained that the fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon and student group Circle K have already gone out and volunteered. She also added that it is not only people in New Jersey trying to volunteer.

“We’ve heard from Michigan, Maine and Virginia,” Heather Kelly said. “A lot of them are saying we want to jump in a van. We want to jump in van, we want to bring our students down and come and volunteer.”

Hanging in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center is a banner that was sent from students in Florida. Heather Kelly said, “We’ve really been spending almost as much time replying to people who have absolutely no ties to Monmouth from around the community and around the United States as we have requests from inside Monmouth.”

Hawks Fly Together for Relief has chosen two charities that it will be donating to: The New Jersey Sandy Relief Fund created by Governor Chris Christie and The MU Sandy Relief Funds.

The MU Sandy Relief Funds is aimed at students, employees and alumni who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. Heather Kelly explained that the people who will be chosen for this donation will be through an application process. “I think it’s important too that we don’t forget the people around us and there’s a lot of people who are truly hurting at the University right now,” said Heather Kelly.

According to Swannack, the University has never done anything like this before. “We’ve never ever experienced a super storm where it had such dramatic impact on so many people,” she said. However, she explained that the University would absolutely do it again if it were warranted.

If anyone wishes to get involved or get more information on Hawks Fly Together for Relief, go on the website at The website has information on how to make a donation, who to contact, how to volunteer and stories from previous volunteers.

Sanchez said, “Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something. Lend a hand, hug or smile wherever you can as we make it through this tough time.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Heather Kelly


Last week, in a story headlined “Hawks Fly Together in Hurricane Relief Efforts”, The Outlook reported that the relief fund had collected $700, which is what the paper was told on the record by a staff member from Student Activities. After the story was published, the paper became aware that the actual amount collected to date was $9,074.46. If, for any reason, this inaccuracy has caused misunderstanding or problems, The Outlook regrets that.