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Class of 2009 Leads the Way with Carleton Disaster Relief Fundraising

September 15, 2005
By Karen Lee '07

Each year, the Carleton Pre-Frosh Service Trip group participates in a community service project during the week before freshmen orientation, giving them an opportunity to serve the community–at-large. In the wake of the recent calamity left behind by Hurricane Katrina (and, later, Hurricane Rita), Carleton’s class of 2009 Pre-Frosh Service Trip group put their efforts into raising money for Carleton students affected by the disaster.

Carleton’s community has experienced the national catastrophe on a smaller scale. After Katrina, Carleton identified 16 students from the affected area. Eight of the 16 were directly affected by the hurricane and a handful lost all their possessions.

The Service Trip group’s original plan was to host a benefit wiffle-ball tournament. When that event was rained out, the group redirected their energy toward planning a carnival using the supplies they had already acquired. In less than twenty-four hours, the group had reorganized the event as Carleton’s first disaster relief benefit. With posters distributed around the Carleton campus, the carnival aimed to attract families and students arriving for the class of 2009 orientation.

One of the leaders of the group, senior Ben Pacht of Columbus, Ohio, was impressed at the dedication of the incoming first-year students. “Just the fact that they were willing to spend a huge amount of time making posters and benefiting their fellow students instead of unpacking or getting adjusted, is incredible on its own,” says Pacht.

The carnival took place on Thursday, Sept. 8, in the upper level of Sayles-Hill student center and raised $250 for Carleton victims and their families. Carnival events included face painting, fake tattoos, inflatable bowling, bingo, mask-making and bean bag and ring tosses. First year student Aaron Kaufman of Roxbury, Conn., provided entertainment by creating an impromptu song to advertise the carnival.

Coordinator Carly Jennerjohn, a senior Cedar Rapids, Iowa, said the group brings incredible energy and enthusiasm to each of their projects. “Watch out for the class of 2009, they’re going to do great things with the [Acting in the Community Together] Center,” says Jennerjohn. “I also know that with the extensive talent for community service that I witnessed on this trip, the Carleton relief effort for those affected by Hurricane Katrina will be substantial.”

As of the end of September, various Carleton efforts have raised more than $10,000 for disaster relief.