Students Organize Benefits for Hurricane Sandy Victims

While we on the West Coast have continued to enjoy 80-degree weather, some on the East Coast are still reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Recent figures from the forecasting firm Equecat predicted that the storm will cost the United States a total of $50 billion in damages, putting it right behind Katrina as the second most expensive storm in American history.

Claremont might be thousands of miles away from the catastrophe, but that didn’t prevent 5C students from taking action.

On Nov. 9, the Claremont Red Cross chapter and Sigma Tau teamed up to host a Boot Casino Night. All the proceeds went directly to Hurricane Sandy relief. Professors dealt cards at the tables, which hosted gambling games like Texas Hold ‘Em and Blackjack. 

“The event was originally going to raise money for SmileTrain,” said Susanne Boden PO ’13, one of the organizers of the Casino Night. “But then, the storm hit, and we realized there was an immediate need on our hands. We also knew that Sandy could be affecting the lives of Claremont students from the East Coast, making it that much more important.”

Students affected by the hurricane include Etta Iannaccone SC ’14 and Nicole Ross PO ’14, who both transfered from East Coast colleges. They assembled another Hurricane Sandy relief event: an open mic that took place on Thursday, Nov. 15.

“It’s really more of a variety show,” Iannaccone said a few days before the event. “The 9th Street Hooligans, KPOP dance team, Claremont Shades and [the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company] are all set to perform.”

 Five dollars was the donation suggested at the door.

Iaccconne and Ross were not aware of the Casino Night when they came up with their event, but they said that they were glad the two events turned out to be so different in nature.

“These two events likely have attracted different audiences, which is good,” Ross said. “And I think a performance-type event like ours makes everyone feel welcome.”

Being transfer students did not impede their progress in starting a 5C-wide event. 

“Everyone was really helpful getting us in contact with the right people, as well as spreading the word,” Ross said.

The organizers of the Boot Casino Night did not realize their time slot conflicted with SCAMFest, last week’s widely attended a cappella music festival. 

Nevertheless, Boden said, “We had a very respectable turnout. We ended up raising over 1000 dollars in funds.”

While both events are sending proceeds directly to East Coast Red Cross relief, the Open Mic will also direct half of its profits to Haiti relief.

“Because the storm hit some of the most densely-populated areas of the United States, a lot of media coverage was drawn away from damages and deaths in Haiti,” Iannaccone said.

Ross attributed the success of the events to the fact that “Sandy is still prevalent in the headlines,” along with the fact that many 5C students have been personally impacted by the storm.

“I don’t have much of a connection to the East Coast,” said Blair Crossman PO ’13, a Casino Night attendee. “But it seemed like a good cause to support, as well as a chance to beat my friends in cards. Despite SCAMFest, the Casino event seemed like it was a big success.”

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