Univ. committee meets to coordinate tsunami relief

An administrative committee met with students Monday afternoon to coordinate the campus response to the Dec. 26 tsunamis that devastated parts of South Asia.

Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg, who convened the committee, said the purpose of the meeting was for students and administrators to get to know each other, and describe their plans for aiding relief efforts. Trachtenberg said the students and administrators formed several subcommittees in order to better organize the various efforts, including subcommittees on finance and scheduling. Better organization will prevent groups from scheduling simultaneous or redundant events, Trachtenberg said.

“[The meeting] was simply to join forces, to learn about what the various groups were doing,” Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg said a campus-wide service of remembrance will be held sometime in the near future, although a date has not yet been announced. Yale College Council President Andrew Cedar ’06 said the YCC will host a benefit concert in Battell Chapel Friday night in conjunction with several other student organizations. The concert will feature a cappella and dance groups, as well as a Sri Lankan hip hop star: producer and recording artist Ranidu Lankage ’05. Tickets will be available on YaleStation and through Yale Student Activities Committee members. Students also suggested fund raising outside of dining halls and benefit dinners.

Cedar said the meeting was productive.

“It was interesting to see how many people were doing the same thing. A facilitation session was very needed,” he said.

Cedar said the YCC will use YaleStation to disseminate information about the events to the student body. The Office of Public Affairs has also posted a web site detailing the administration’s response to the tsunamis.

The committee — composed of Ann Kuhlman, director of International Students and Scholars; Saveena Dhall, director of the Asian American Cultural Center; Nina Glickson, assistant to Yale President Richard Levin; Cynthia Terry, associate University chaplain; and Judith Krauss, master of Silliman College — invited students who had responded to Yale College Dean Peter Salovey’s Jan. 6 e-mail to attend the meeting, Trachtenberg said. Student representatives from CARE, a global poverty relief organization, the Yale Rotaract club, the Muslim Students’ Association, the Asian American Students’ Association, and the Red Cross attended the meeting, as well as Cedar, YCC Treasurer Andrew Schram ’06 and administrators from the Office of Public Affairs and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Krauss described the meeting as an attempt to coordinate the efforts of the many organizations and individuals on campus who have expressed a desire to help the victims of the tsunami.

“From the president on down, it’s been recognized that this should be a priority,” Krauss said. “There are going to be a number of groups interested in doing so and we want to be helpful in coordinating all the efforts.”

A follow-up meeting will take place sometime next week, possibly Tuesday, Trachtenberg said.

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