Governor’s Scholars Program helps tornado victims

Courtney Laverdure
Staff writer

In the wake of the recent devastating tornado in Southern Illinois, the officers of the new to campus Governor’s Scholars Program-College Community have enacted their service project to aid those who were affected by collecting and donating necessary items to the Southern Illinois United Way.

Mar. 5-16 the GSP-CC will be collecting toiletries, gently used linens, clothing and the like for the people distressed by the recent natural disaster. The GSP-CC placed collection boxes in the lobbies of Hart, Hester, Clark, and Elizabeth residential colleges. Another collection box is located on the second floor of the Curris Center near the stairs between the bookstore and the Rocking Chair Lounge.

The GSP’s main purpose it to develop community and encompassed in this purpose is the goal to help out the community, GSP-CC President, Austin Starks, Junior from Mortons Gap, Ky., said.

“Deciding on a date, what to collect, and who to send it to, was the easy part; however, finding out how to conduct all of our business was the hard part,” Starks said.

Starks and his officers went straight to the top in order to get permission to place collection boxes in the individual Residential Colleges by emailing the college heads directly to request approval, he said.

“I have gained nothing but support from the college heads, and through my deliberations, I have realized that I could go to them for any support that I need,” Starks said.

With many of the GSP members and officers being active in Greek Life, GSP-CC asked their members to propose their cause to their Greek organizations in order to reap the most benefits, Starks said.

At the event to celebrate the men’s basketball team’s selection for the NCAA tournament “2012 Racer Dance Party” on Sunday GSP-CC will be working to take donations.

“We have had quite a bit of success already,” Starks said. “The collection box in Hart College is already almost overflowing. Also, the Animal Health Technology/Preveterinary Medicine Club has pledged $200 toward our cause. This is the largest donation so far, but we have had several smaller but impactful donations already made or committed.”

With all the success the GSP-CC has had in the first few days of the drive, Starks believes collecting over 1000 items is a very realistic goal, he said.

They are going to deliver the donated items on Friday the 16th, so organizations are asked to get their items together as soon as possible in order for them to be shipped.

“Our idea is to focus on one region at a time,” Starks said. “With Spring Break looming on the horizon, we want this first donation to go to Southern Illinois; we will consider other locations following Spring Break.”

Starks encourages anyone to email with any questions or if they would like to donate as an organization.

Said Starks: “GSP-CC is devoted to developing our community. In this time of need, we ask that you donate to this worthy cause in order to support those in the surrounding communities. Every little bit helps, and all of the donations will help rebuild the communities that have been devastated by these natural disasters.”