Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alumni groups find ways to help

As relief efforts continue throughout Tuscaloosa, alumni and alumni groups from every corner of the country are helping out in any way they can.

Mark Roberts, the Manager of Chapter Development and Special Events for the National Alumni Association, said around 15 alumni groups are either planning or have already held some type of fundraiser since Wednesday’s tornado.

“The Atlanta chapter has already raised $6,000 and sent three 18-wheelers full of supplies,” Roberts said.

“The Nashville chapter has an event planned for this Wednesday.”

The Nashville event, known as Tide Together for Tuscaloosa Twister Relief, started out as a simple idea thought up by a group of local alumni that evolved into a major effort with high expectations. Anna Katherine Owen, a 2009 graduate of the University, said they are partnering with the UA Nashville Alumni Chapter and are expecting between 400 and 500 people.

“We have such a huge contingency of alumni here in the area and they are so supportive,” Owen said. The event will raise money through a $10 admission price as well as raffle tickets being sold for $2 a piece. All proceeds will be donated to the United Way of West Alabama.”

In Washington D.C., the National Capital Chapter hosted a fundraiser and silent auction on April 30 that raised $9,000.

“The place was absolutely packed,” said Timothy Williamson, president of the D.C. alumni chapter. “The event went from 9:00 until 1:00 and by 11:00 security was running ‘one-for-one’ because the place was at capacity.”

Items auctioned off included a football autographed by Terrence Cody that sold for $500 as well as an original canvas painting that sold for $400.

“People were giving above and beyond the stated value,” Williamson said.

Alumni groups haven’t been the only out-of-towners to plan donations, though. A.J. Thompson, an alumnus of the University currently living in Grand Forks, North Dakota, said she plans to ship supplies donated by co-workers before arriving this weekend.

Thompson said each year Grand Forks holds “a scheduled week of spring-cleaning for the city where people put any unwanted items out on their curb.

“I’ve asked my coworkers to contact me about sending unwanted items to Tuscaloosa instead of their street corner.”

A major concern for Tuscaloosa residents is whether this immediate generosity will continue down the road.

Williamson is originally from Orange Beach and was on the ground a day after Hurricane Ivan hit the Gulf Coast in 2004. He said he remembers how long it took Orange Beach to recover.

“[I have] no plans to let up on organization up here and making sure that the recovery efforts continue.”

Both Williamson and Roberts touched on the importance Alabama football season has to alumni groups.

“Football season is such a big time for our chapters,” Roberts said, stating that some chapters in places like Chicago and New York can generate up to 600 people for a single game.

Williamson said he was already in talks with local bars to host continuous fundraisers through Alabama viewing parties, which can attract between 100 and 350 people in Washington D.C.

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