November 03, 2008
Rollins Relief is a student organization that brings to life the Rollins College mission of educating students for global citizenship and responsible leadership.
“This student run relief effort is dedicated to providing disaster relief opportunities on the local scale, national level and international arena," said Adrian Cohn '10, president of organization. “It is the essence of Rollins Relief to discover the potential of human recovery, empowering global citizenship and responsible leadership to Rollins College and its surrounding community through disaster relief.”
Rollins Relief began in 2005 when Steve Miller '09 and Professor of Chemistry Larry Eng-Wilmot organized a trip to New Orleans in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity to aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Since then Rollins Relief has made several trips back to Louisiana to continue efforts to rebuild homes and impact the community in a positive way.
With Cohn as president, Rollins Relief is focused on bringing its efforts home to the local community. Although launched by providing aid on a national level with aspirations to be able to assist internationally in the future, the students of Rollins Relief wanted to contribute as much as they could on a local scale. Prior to this year, the organization was only able to coordinate one local relief project, which helped those in need after tornadoes caused significant damage in Central Florida in 2007. The priorities to localize were then put into motion at the start of the fall semester 2008.
Just as Rollins students were arriving on campus in August for the new academic year, Tropical Storm Fay hit Central Florida. The campus itself and immediate surrounding areas did not experience any major damage. Just a few miles away, however, Fay caused flooding on a damaging scale.
The City of DeBary was impacted and many homes suffered water damage. In September, members of Rollins Relief joined the United Methodist Church of DeBary’s efforts to aid DeBary residents by sending teams of volunteers to help repair water-damaged homes. Rollins Relief found out just how close to home their efforts were when the “team leader” assigned to them by the church organization was in fact Rollins alumnus Jim Duby. To the surprise of the entire group, the storm-weathered home they were sent to repair was owned by a current Rollins Crummer Graduate School of Business student.
Rollins Relief students worked hard to bring assistance to those in need in the Central Florida community. “It did turn out to be a lot of hard work, but working with the homeowners and knowing that we were providing a huge service to them made me feel really good about what we did,” said Danielle Lincoln '12. “It’s kind of shocking to see that level of destruction so close to home.”
Hard work or not, the students of Rollins Relief returned to the United Methodist Church of DeBary on September 27 to bring aid to other homeowners. The organization plans to coordinate at least one local relief project per month, one national project per year, and aims to bring relief internationally in the future.
By Casey Wilson '09