|by Brittney Dick • September 16, 2005|
Two Wabash men are counting on other college students to aid them in a Hurricane Katrina relief fund-raiser.
Project coordinators Josh Bellis and Bryce Chitwood are collecting original poems, stories and pictures for a book called "Natural Disasters: Your Life, Your Thoughts, Your Story."
The team sent a press release to media sources, targeted friends at other schools and sent fliers to English departments at surrounding colleges.
Submission is limited to current college students, regardless of where they attend.
"We knew that (Hurricane Katrina victims) needed money and that may be something that college students don’t always have," the friends said in a collaborative e-mail interview. "Therefore, we brainstormed until we found an idea that would allow college students to participate in a unique and interesting way but a way that would be financially helpful a few months from now."
Neither Bellis nor Chitwood have experience compiling or publishing a book, but they don’t anticipate any problems.
"For us it’s all about doing what we can to help, and we place our trust in our community and country that we can find the help we need to publish such an incredible piece of work," they said.
Various Wabash faculty and staff showed support and offered useful ideas.
Consequently, Bellis and Chitwood plan to assemble a mix of students and staff to review the submissions and determine the book’s content.
"We hope to publish a wide range of creative work. The book would truly be a testament to the American spirit if it included various personal approaches to natural disasters," they said.
They hope to find a company to publish the finalized collection at no cost.
"We have high aspirations for finding a valuable company to help with this, given all proceeds will go to aid victims," they said.
They hope to have the volume available no later than early spring.
"If our project is small-scale it may only be available in a few local stores, but if it is incredibly successful we would like to see our book in stores all across the country," they said.
The friends are still considering options for donating the money.
"Our top priority is that it goes to helping those who need it most," they said. "We would love for funds to go to college students displaced by the story and are still looking for an organization that can do that."
Companies interested in publishing the book or college students wanting to submit entries should do so through firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions can also be mailed to Wabash College; Attn: Operation Unite; P.O. Box 352; Crawfordsville, IN 47933.
Entries must be received by October 15.
Dick is a reporter for the Crawfordsville Journal Review. This story first appeared in that newspaper.