Vanderbilt continues to respond to victims of Hurricane Katrina

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A week after Vanderbilt University began admitting students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, approximately 100 students from Gulf Coast colleges and universities had registered for classes. Vanderbilt Medical Center now has treated more than 70 Gulf Coast evacuees, hospitalizing more than 20, and its LifeFlight reserve helicopter and fixed wing aircraft and their medical teams continue to assist in disaster relief and patient transport out of the region.

Admitted as visiting students were 82 undergraduates and 18 graduate or professional students, most of whom had already begun attending classes by the end of the week in an attempt to catch up with the Vanderbilt fall schedule, which began Aug. 24. Most of the displaced students are from Tulane University, but a few had planned to attend Loyola, the University of New Orleans or Southern University this semester. Though the deadline for undergraduates was Wednesday, some professional and graduate students may still seek temporary enrollment.

The admission of students from Gulf Coast institutions and treatment of evacuees are only two of the many steps Vanderbilt has taken to help meet the needs emanating from the devastating storm:

  • A number of faculty from Gulf Coast institutions are being hosted by Vanderbilt departments so that they can continue their research.
  • The university has established a fund by which alumni and others can contribute to the education expenses of displaced students and Vanderbilt students from the Gulf Coast who were affected by the storm as well as a fund to provide support of Vanderbilt University Medical Center disaster relief teams assisting the hurricane victims.
  • Several Vanderbilt students from the affected areas have responded to the university’s offer to reassess their financial needs to see if they qualify for additional financial assistance in the wake of the hurricane.
  • Students, faculty and staff are collecting food, baby and personal hygiene items to be provided to evacuees through Second Harvest Food Bank. At week’s end, more than 100 boxes had been collected.
  • As a result of a special promotion in the Rand Dining Hall, more than 9,300 items have been donated to the food drive. Through lunchtime Friday, Vanderbilt students on the meal plan traded side items for nearly 4,700 non-perishable items. Vanderbilt Dining Services is matching the students’ donations.
  • A website has been established where Vanderbilt students can volunteer to help in a variety of ways, including donating blood to the American Red Cross.
  • A concert to benefit hurricane relief efforts is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Life Center. Tickets are $5 at the door, and performers include the Commodore Jazz Band, Vandy Rockstars, Voices of Praise, Variations, Swingin’ Dores, the hip-hop dance group VIBE and other artists.
  • About 60 students gathered for a prayer vigil Wednesday night at the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. Jamie Frazier, executive vice president of the Student Government Association and president of the Jeremiah Generation, one of several student groups that organized the vigil, urged those attending, “Don’t let the memory of Katrina fade after this week.”
  • Vanderbilt Athletics is working in partnership with the Red Cross during each home football game this season. At the Sept. 17 game against the University of Mississippi, a special collection will be earmarked for the state of Mississippi Red Cross. Funds collected during the LSU game Oct. 8. will go to the Louisiana Red Cross. Funds collected at other games will go the Red Cross general fund.
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center continues to provide cancer treatment to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
  • The School of Nursing has opened a special clinic within the Vine Hill Clinic to treat hurricane disaster refugees now in Middle Tennessee.
  • Many Medical Center faculty and staff are volunteering in the disaster area through the National Guard, the Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) or the Urban Search and Rescue Teams (USAR).
  • The Middle Tennessee Medical Reserve Corps (MTMRC), created by the Vanderbilt School of Nursing, has recruited more than 1,500 volunteers in their call for medical and other volunteers to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It has opened a warehouse at the Municipal Auditorium, where it already has received more than 450 car- and truckloads of donated medical supplies. The MTMRC and Vanderbilt nurses are staffing the Crievewood Baptist Church shelter in Nashville around the clock.

For more information on Vanderbilt’s response to the hurricane, visit
Media contact: Elizabeth Latt, (615) 322-NEWS

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