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Home News Hurricane Harvey Hits Close to Home for Many Concordia Students

photo from abcnews.go.com

by Abigail Wisniewski

Though Hurricane Harvey hit far from Nebraska, the aftereffects have reached all the way to Concordia’s campus. Nearly sixty Concordia students are from Houston or surrounding areas that have been hit with flooding and damage. A special prayer service was held during chapel on Monday, September 4 for Concordia students and staff affected by the hurricane. The Bible readings were read by students from Texas, and the congregation joined in prayer and hymns for all those suffering as a result of the hurricane.

Director of Student Life, Rehema Kavugha also was affected by the storm, having grown up in Houston.

“For me personally, watching the news and social media was a little bit harder because you’re seeing the big picture of things…It was really important to stay connected to my own family and see how they were doing,” Kavugha said.

Concordia has been working to create an atmosphere of support by reaching out to students who have been affected.

“One of the things we are doing intentionally is that we want students to know who are the students that are from that area, and just asking them how they’re doing is a big thing,” Kavugha said. “I’ve really appreciated…students who remembered that I was from Houston and asked me how my family is doing. It did mean a lot that people would just check.”

In the wake of the storm, many people are asking what they can do to help victims and relief efforts. One opportunity will be a fundraiser on Saturday, September 9 during the Bulldog football game against Ottawa University at 1 p.m. Former Concordia University, Nebraska chaplain, Bo Baumeister, has issued a challenge to all Concordia campuses to raise money to help victims of Hurricane Harvey. A donation bucket will be passed around during the Bulldog football game on Saturday, September 9, with a goal of raising $1000.

According to Vice President of Student Affairs Gene Brooks, Concordia is also hoping to plan some long term opportunities for students to help with relief efforts. The university is working with the LCMS Lutheran Church Disaster Relief Organization to potentially lead groups of students to affected areas to volunteer.

“The reality is, this is going to go on for a long time,” Brooks said. “It’s going to be important for us to keep this on our radar and be prepared to continue to have a high level of motivation to get down and help and do whatever we can do to help. Six months from now, Christmas break, next summer, there’s still gonna be needs that far into the future.”

A potential outreach opportunity in Houston could be helping Lutheran South Academy, where Concordia alumna, Sheila Psencik is the Head of School. A video on Lutheran South was featured in the prayer service, showcasing the turnout of nearly 300 people to begin fixing damage in the school.

““I think that’s very tangible for us as a school to be giving back to another school,” Kavugha said. “What that will look like, (we) will hopefully know better by the end of this week.”

Texans from the Bulldog football team were recently featured on Channel 8 Eyewitness News out of Lincoln.

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