Racers rally to send aid to Texas

Photo courtesy of eioimages.gsfc.nasa.gov

Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff Writer

The Murray State community is striving to give hope to Hurricane Harvey survivors as the death toll, percentage of victims left homeless and number of totaled cars rises in the region.

Student organizations and faculty have come together for a common purpose: to do their part.

Women need stuff too

Jordyn Rowland, junior from Murray and founder of Menstruation Proclamation: A Movement, took initiative to send feminine hygiene products to the women affected by the storm.

Rowland said last week her grandma approached her about sending pads to Harvey victims, so she sent 290 pads to Houston that day.

“It was one of those, ‘Oh wait… I actually have a platform built up to do something more with thismoments,” Rowland said. “So I went for it.”

That afternoon, Rowland said she decided to work through MPM and collect donations for iSupportTheGirls, a national organization with relief efforts across Texas. Her partner, Rebecca Brubaker of Emerson College, tweeted about MPM’s efforts, and Chelsea Clinton retweeted the message. From there, international interest was sparked, and Bustle even published an article that mentioned MPM.

Rowland created a GoFundMe page, where people donated over $1,000. She said these proceeds will buy products for hurricane victims. Packages are coming in from The Netherlands and Luxembourg, and people have used both Amazon Prime and Walmart to send donations directly to the MPM headquarters in Murray.

Rowland said MPM was created last year as a way to fill needs as they arise, the first being providing pads and tampons in women’s bathrooms on Murray State’s campus.

“Our mission is to help as many people as we can, no matter how big or small the contribution may be, and Houston needed help,” Rowland said.

Rowland is working on rebranding MPM and extending its reach on campus and around the country. It will soon be called PRD. Alliance – a play on the word “period.”

“There’s a strong stigma surrounding menstruation,” Rowland said. “That stigma hinders the public’s awareness of the needs within the realm of menstrual hygiene and health. MPM is working to change that.”

Donations to MPM can be addressed to ‘Jordyn Rowland, MPM’ and sent to 711 Main Street in Murray. Rowland said MPM isn’t just for hurricane devastation aid. Donations can be sent all year round and will be utilized as needs arise.

SGA contributes

Tori Wood, Student Government Association president and senior from Symsonia, Kentucky, said SGA sponsored a donation drive at the Curris Center last week. They set up a table for about two hours outside the T-Room and raised $93.91 in monetary donations, which will be donated to the American Red Cross.

“While SGA’s core purpose is to represent the student body, we also believe in civic engagement and simply supporting humanity,” Wood said. “This effort is not necessarily a direct reflection of SGA, but who SGA is made up of: people that care.”

Counseling Honor Society holds drive

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 1, the Murray State Mu Sigma Chi chapter of Chi Sigma International Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society International collected food, stuffed animals, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, diapers, wipes and other personal hygiene items, totaling around 300 items.

Rebecca Pender Baum, assistant professor and co-faculty advisor for the honor society, said she made a deal with the students that she would pay for the shipping. She shipped the items last Friday to a friend who lives in the disaster area and is going to distribute to the town of Refugio, Texas.

The organization and the Murray State chapter aim to complete advocacy and social change projects each year to support the mission of advocating for clients and community – both globally and locally.

“The mission of Chi Sigma Iota and our chapter Mu Sigma Chi is to promote scholarship, research, professionalism, leadership, advocacy and excellence in counseling and to recognize high attainment in the pursuit of academic and clinical excellence in the profession of counseling.”

She said the students, faculty and staff of the College of Education and Human Services, among others, were very supportive of their efforts to help Texas.

For Pender Baum, the need in Texas hit home. She and her husband have friends and family who live in the Corpus Christi, Texas area.  

“So it was personal, but also as a counselor that specializes in trauma and crisis work, I just felt the call to serve in some way,” Pender Baum said. “Our members have always jumped at the opportunity to conduct advocacy projects and I knew they would see the value.”

Since the chapter’s inception, Pender Baum said the organization has completed a hat and mittens drive for local schools in Murray and Madisonville, collected soccer balls to send to kids in Tanzania and completed this drive for the survivors of Hurricane Harvey.

“I think it’s important for the students to be involved in this work because it helps them connect to experiences they may not have experienced themselves,” Pender Baum said. “It helps them to become better counselors by realizing the world is bigger than who they are as individuals.”