Winthrop students, faculty and staff
members committed this fall to helping the affected people of
Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama recover from the devastation of
Two social work students and a
faculty member traveled to the
Gulf Coast to help the
American Red Cross with its efforts. Professor Wilhelmenia
Rembert `72, associate vice president for graduate studies, and
her 24-year-old daughter, Meredith, spent Sept. 27 to Oct. 11 in
Austin and Lufkin, Texas. In her role as a mental health professional, Rembert talked with
evacuees and staff who were overcome by the disaster and subsequent
Senior Sarah Rogerson of Myrtle Beach, S.C., second from right, worked with volunteers from around the country in October as part of an outreach team helping with Hurricane Katrina recovery in Alabama. She felt honored to work on the biggest disaster the American Red Cross has ever handled.
“We had persons affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” Rembert said.
“There were some evacuees who arrived in Lufkin who were
in their fourth shelter.”
In Austin, she saw long lines of people waiting for help in sweltering
temperatures. In Lufkin, some minority evacuees believed they were
given inadequate housing compared to other evacuees.
Despite the many bureaucratic challenges and lack of diversity training
for some volunteers, Rembert is glad she went to Texas. She gained
direct experience that she will be able to use in the classroom.
Seniors Sarah Rogerson of
Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Stacy Brice
of Columbia, S.C., jumped at the chance to go to Alabama from Oct.
6-16. The social work majors, who are completing internships with the
York County chapter of the Red Cross, felt honored to work on the
biggest disaster the Red Cross has ever handled.
For the first week, they
worked on data entry for a national database in
Montgomery. Then the two were split
up and sent with outreach teams to different areas to evaluate damage
The evaluations were
difficult, Rogerson said, because a lot of what she saw in
Mobile was due to poverty not
necessarily hurricane damage, and it was difficult to know when to draw
the line. Her team also took supplies, medicines and toys to offer some
aid. “I would definitely do it again,” said Rogerson, who will head to
Africa in May with the Peace Corps.
Brice, who spent the second
half of her trip in Chatom in rural
Washington County, was surprised by
the lack of health care and the illiteracy of the clients they served.
“Just being out there and helping people is memorable for me,” Brice
said, adding that she would like to have helped with earlier efforts.
“I wanted to do so much more.”
To learn more about
Winthrop’s Hurricane Katrina relief
efforts, go to http://www.winthrop.edu/katrinarelief/