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Cliff Notes May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2
   

Fire Volunteers When the Smoke Clears

   
     


Some students went home to escape the thick, ash-filled air. Others took advantage of the mid-quarter break to relax. But many students used their week off to help evacuated San Diegans wherever and however they could.

Fourth-year pharmacy student Stephanie Gershgol spent her week applying her studies in the field—Qualcomm Stadium’s field, that is. She helped by handing out medicine to evacuees, triaging patients in the stadium’s makeshift pharmacy and napping with the pharmacy’s limited supply of medications secured at her side.

Student members of Reality Changers delivering donations to evacuees at Qualcomm

Then there was the crew of 47 students involved with Reality Changers, which was founded by Chris Yanov, ERC ’99, to encourage inner-city youth to go to college. They spent their Tuesday afternoon at Qualcomm delivering donations to evacuees—everything from food to diapers—and stayed late into the night to set up for the next day’s breakfast.

That same day the men’s basketball team was unloading supplies at the Del Mar Fairgrounds evacuation center when they ran into the men’s rowing team and their car full of donations.

Across town, April Deibert, Muir ’07, received a call from a friend for the use of her truck to fill with donations, then drive it to the Steele Canyon High School evacuation center. With the Harris fire burning in the distance and helicopters and air tankers dropping water and fire retardant, they finally made it to the school, alongside fire trucks, Red Cross vans, the National Guard and a CNN crew.

And throughout the week, Guardian reporters and editors kept students and curious people around the world informed with a constantly updated blog, which received over 10,000 hits on the first day alone.

Emma Sandoe, Revelle ’07, and Sarah Chang, Revelle ’09, organized the Student Foundation’s efforts and set up a donation drive with sites on and off campus. In two days they managed to collect six carloads of donations for nearby shelters. And after the fires subsided, Chang coordinated a
successful blood drive with the San Diego Blood Bank.

“ A lot of the time, as a student, I feel pretty small, considering the scope of things,” Chang says. “Doing this, combined with all of the other efforts and time other students are putting into the relief effort, has reminded me that I’m not so powerless. ”

Cliff Notes written by Neda Oreizy, ’08

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