June 21, 2012
The following is a message from Pres. Tony Frank regarding the High Park Fire. For more information about the university's response to the fire, visit www.safety.colostate.edu.
Someone reminded me this past week that during the flood recovery on campus in 1997, we had T-shirts made with the saying, “CSU: Can’t Stop Us.”
That proved true again this past weekend when a number of our students and staff who had been evacuated from our Pingree Park campus volunteered to go back up to feed and support the firefighters who are lodging there. This is certainly not without some risk: there’s a spot fire about 2 miles up the Pingree Park Road, but the campus is 14 miles away and relatively safe at this point. The staff is prepared to evacuate at any time if necessary, and we’re watching the reports carefully. But in the meantime, they’re doing important work supporting the crews that are out fighting the larger High Park Fire—and demonstrating yet again that you can’t stop the people of CSU.
Fire response efforts are also continuing here in town, with the incident command base camp continuing to operate out of the Foothills Campus, hundreds of night-crew firefighters and National Guard members staying in our residence halls, the VTH and others continuing to care for evacuated pets and livestock, and the Disaster Recovery Center now up and operational at Johnson Hall. CSU fire experts have provided information to help educate the media and the general public, and faculty and staff in Human Development and Family Studies have been working with the local 211 system to help provide crisis counseling services to fire victims. Among those who have stepped up to volunteer wherever they can are our student athletes, cheerleaders, and members of ROTC. Thanks to everyone who has and continues to help with all these efforts.
As of this writing, we know of about 100 CSU employees and 10 students who have been evacuated from their primary homes; we don’t know how many CSU people have total losses of their homes, but we believe there are quite a few. This is why we created the CSUCares fund, and we’ve had a strong initial response to the launch of this effort (http://campaign.colostate.edu/csucares.aspx) to provide emergency financial assistance to members of the CSU community who have suffered losses in the fire. As of this writing, we’re in the process of cutting the first checks to some people who really need the help—and that’s entirely thanks to all of you who have pitched in to support the fund. Your gifts, large and small, make a difference, both to this fund and to the Red Cross and local recovery efforts, all of which need and deserve our support. (One nice aspect of CSUCares is that we’re able to manage it in-house with staff who are lending their time and energy, so every penny that comes in from your donations is going right back out to disaster victims to help with individual needs including lodging, food, clothes, and evacuation expenses.)
If you’re looking for additional ways to help, Housing and Dining is now accepting donations of non-refrigerated food items and toiletries for the firefighters who are staying in the residence halls. Surplus Property is also accepting donations of specific items that are needed by fire survivors. Please visit http://www.today.colostate.edu/story.aspx?id=7362 for more information on what’s needed and other ways to support the recovery.
That’s it for now—thanks to all of you who are pitching in to show that CSU really does care, and let’s keep the firefighters and evacuees in our thoughts.
Dr. Tony Frank
Contact: Dell Rae Moellenberg
Phone: (970) 491-6009