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The Daily Tar Heel

Task Force to Oversee Relief Projects

The task force aims to help organize campus relief efforts and plan long-term events to support victims.

The new task force met Sept. 17 and 21 to discuss its role in coordinating University events related to the terrorist attacks on the United States earlier this month.

But associate vice chancellor for finance and task force member Roger Patterson emphasized that the task force's purpose is to be an organizing group, not to act as a "bureaucratic committee" that everyone must contact for approval. "We're not the focal point here," Patterson said. "There was such an outpouring of groups, we're just here to coordinate."

The 10-member task force is composed of representatives from all major service and public relations groups at the University, including students, faculty, the Carolina Center for Public Service and the public relations department.

"The University wanted to have a broad representation of people," said task force member and Student Body President Justin Young. "We want diverse involvement to spread the word."

The biggest event the task force has coordinated so far was a disaster relief collection at the UNC football game against Florida State University on Saturday. Volunteers collected more than $7,500, which will go toward the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. This fund provides scholarships for children who lost parents in the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Since we're a University group, we wanted to do something related to education," Patterson said. "So we chose to donate the money to the (Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund)."

Although the task force has no other specific events scheduled yet, they are working on ideas for future activities.

Sandy Alexander, the task force representative from the center, said there are plans for more fund-raising events, American Red Cross training and activities to fight racism.

"We're trying to think of activities that will make students more prepared to help," Alexander said. "We want to do our best to try to help out."

In addition to these efforts, Patterson said the task force is in the early stages of planning events that will bring the campus together. "There has been a great interest in holding some sort of solidarity activity," Patterson said. "There have been a lot of issues with religious groups, so we don't have anything concrete planned yet because we want to make sure that all groups are included."

But ultimately the goal of the task force is to focus on the long-term needs of those involved in the attacks.

"The repercussions of the attacks are far-reaching in so many different ways," Young said. "The goal is to help everyone in all those ways."

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