The Katrina Relief Committee raised $3,000 on Friday at JAMbalaya, the first of their series of hurricane relief efforts.

The event consisted of a New Orleans-style dinner in Douglass Dining Center with authentic Southern-style cooking that included jambalaya – a spicy Creole dish typical of New Orleans.

“I thought the way they set up the dinner was great,” sophomore John Ray said. “The food was amazing. A lot of people went and the atmosphere was really cool. I also think it was such a great cause because the committee tied together something that was really fun and appealing with something that was unfortunately necessary at this time. I think everyone had fun, but at the same time they were thinking about how many people were hurt by Katrina.”

WRUR provided blues and jazz music, giving diners a true feeling of being on Bourbon Street.

After dinner, over a dozen student groups, including the Midnight Ramblers, UR Bhangra, Yosakoi, Yellowjackets, After Hours, Sihir Belly Dancing and Spanish and Latino Students’ Association, performed in Strong Auditorium.

“It was amazing to see such a display of diversity within the performance and within the groups,” Dean of Students Jody Asbury said. “I was blown away at how strong and powerful each act was.”

The performances, which ranged from ballet dancing to break dancing, were a display of music and culture from all over the world.

Amidst the music and dancing, the purpose of the evening was not overlooked. Between performances, committee members came on stage to address the situation in New Orleans and efforts underway to repair the devastated region.

“We wanted to provide some educational context in order to give the audience an understanding of the positive actions that people displayed in reaction to the disaster,” senior Julia Shmoys said.

“When I was there, I didn’t realize exactly how bad the situation is right now, after the hurricane,” Ray said. “They did a really good job keeping the show upbeat in light of what is going on.”

Many students who attended had similar feelings while they were watching the show.

“The energy from all the groups was so contagious,” freshman Lindsay Zelinski said.

Continuing, she said, “There is really no better way to advertise the Katrina relief efforts than with a great performance that people want to see.”

Students had an electrifying time watching the performances and were happy to help out with the Katrina relief efforts. “It was awesome,” junior Deborah Richardson said. “I only went to the show, but there were a ton of people there. It was so good seeing the school come together for such a worthy cause.”

The event, the first of several fundraisers that will be held throughout the semester, drew an audience of over 200 people and exceeded the target fundraising goal.

“JAMbalaya set the standard for great things to come with the Katrina relief effort,” Dean of Sophomores Vicki Roth said.

WRUR and Fraternity Presidents’ Council will be hosting JAMbalaya 2 at the German House on Friday to continue the support.

Fernandez can be reached at mfernandez@campustimes.org.



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