Students give blood, support in time of attacks

Four hundred students gathered outside the Phyllis P. Marshall Center to take a trip to The Home Depot on South Dale Mabry Highway to donate blood for the victims of the tragic events that occurred Tuesday. This was one of the proactive measures taken by USF student leaders after news hit about terrorist attacks against America.

?There will be need for blood and we want to do what we can,? Sammy Kalmowicz, president for Student Government senate said.

Along with giving blood, Student Government and other organizations on campus volunteered to pass out thousands of flyers to students providing quick-help tips, such as emergency numbers and news that classes had been canceled.

But their efforts did not stop at the gates of campus.

?We wanted to give the same information to area apartment complexes that student housing was getting on campus,? Mike Griffin, student body president, said.

Griffin said he was pleased with the amount of students who came to support SG and with how quickly everyone was organized and ready to work.

?My first reaction was, ?My God,?? he said. ?My second was, ?I need to get to work.??

Griffin said he was happy to see students deciding to get up and do something, rather than just watch the events on TV.

?No one really knows how to handle a situation like this,? he said. ?But once it came down, we were meeting with everybody from President (Judy) Genshaft on down.?

Griffin said USF prides itself on diversity, but he wanted to make sure students didn?t place any blame.

?We want to make sure nobody is casting preconceived notions on who did this,? he said. ?Because all we know is what we see on TV.?

Dave Mincberg, student body vice president, said he doesn?t believe Tampa will be threatened.

?I don?t think anything will happen in Tampa,? he said. ?It?s good we are taking precautions, but I think USF students are safe.?

Kalmowicz said he wants students to know they are safe at USF, both physically and mentally.

?We are letting people know what services are available by talking to students and handing out flyers,? Kalmowicz said. ?The Safe Team is available and will be operational this evening.?

Griffin met with students in the residence halls Tuesday evening to convey the message that SG is there for them.

?We are just doing what we can,? he said. ?There are students that are upset and need support. One student just broke down crying in front of me.?

Counseling was also made available Tuesday in MC Room 108 and will continue throughout the week. Kalmowicz said a second blood drive will take place some time next week.

The official universitywide vigil will be held Wednesday evening at the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza at 6 p.m. Griffin said he hopes many students will gather and come together in this time of crisis.

Griffin and Mincberg both said that school business will continue as usual Wednesday.

Contact William Albrittonat