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Global Brigades to help Hurricane Sandy relief

This May, UIS’ student organization, Global Brigades, will embark on a week long trip to New York to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. During the trip, the group will visit Long Island and Manhattan; two areas hit the hardest from the storm.

Hurricane Sandy, a category three storm, peaked Oct. 25, 2012 and lasted nearly a week until it dissipated Oct. 31, 2012. The storm was proclaimed as one of the worst natural disasters of 2012 by the Huffington Post, killing over 125 people in the U.S. and 71 in the Caribbean. Reports also show the storm inflicted upwards of $75 billion in damages, making it the costliest storm in U.S. history since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Following the storm, the state of New York sought nearly $42 billion dollars to fund disaster relief projects, but has proven insufficient in recent months. Much of the disaster relief efforts that continue today are reliant on volunteers, donations and community support – which is where Global Brigades hopes to come in.

Global Brigades president, Taylor Armstrong, explained that over the course of their trip, volunteers will aid with efforts within a Hurricane Sandy Relief medical clinic, soup kitchen and housing restoration.

“Hurricane Sandy impacted the lives of millions of people and there are still many people who are suffering and need help,” Armstrong said.

Among these efforts, the state of New York’s Mayor’s Fund has launched several projects and relief efforts to help begin restoration in affected areas. These include hot meals, relief supplies including groceries, homeowner assistance, loans, debris removal, showers, and transportation outreach – all which totaled nearly $30 million.

Mayor Bloomberg said, “Through our first-of-its-kind Rapid Repairs program, we have helped more than 15,000 families return to their homes.”

As a relatively new student organization, Armstrong said the group is looking to recruit new members who support the overall mission of the Global Brigades. She said, “We are a chapter of the national Global Brigade’s organization. [Our mission] is to resolve global health and economic disparities, by empowering student volunteers, local professionals, and community member in a collaborative holistic approach to sustainable development.”

Funding for the trip is yet to be determined, but will rely heavily on fundraising efforts by student volunteers. Any additional funds that are required will have to be provided by the volunteers themselves.

The UIS Global Brigades organization is part of a larger group of chapters nationwide. The group is one of the nation’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development based organizations. Focused on equality and social responsibility, the group’s name, “Global Brigades,” translates to just that – “Groups of passionate volunteers who mobilize toward positive social change [globally],” according to its national division.

As a new student organization, Global Brigades hopes to expand and involve more students in their outreach efforts. This group offers a new perspective on volunteering and outreach on a global level for students looking to get involved not only within their communities, but outside as well. For more information, contact Global Brigades’ President, Taylor Armstrong, at tarms2@uis.edu.

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