The Association of Former Students, Texas A&M Foundation, and the sports website TexAgs moved swiftly this week to provide a relief forum for Aggies affected by the storm and its aftermath.
As the Texas Gulf Coast region was just beginning to grapple with massive flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey earlier this week, an association of alumni of one of the state’s major universities swung into action, joining with two partners to create an online forum to keep the Texas A&M community informed and connected.
Sponsored by the Association of Former Students and Texas A&M Foundation, the forum, hosted on the sports website TexAgs, provides a central place where Aggies (Texas A&M students and alumni) can find or offer assistance during the crisis. Visitors can also access links to local, state, and federal relief agencies.
“What we wanted to do in setting this up is to provide a little organization to communication that we knew would be happening anyway,” said Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of communications and human resources at the association.
The group hosted a similar forum itself when Hurricane Rita struck in 2005. This time around, the association decided to host the forum on TexAgs—a close partner—because of the website’s popularity among Aggies.
“We felt like it would allow us to get this need out to a group of people that are already sharing information,” Greenwade said. “It seemed like a very efficient and effective way to get this forum up and running.”
She estimated more than 100,000 alumni to be in Hurricane Harvey’s path, so the initial focus was to “put Aggies in touch with one another.” However, she expects word of this resource to spread beyond the Texas A&M community.
“Our former students tend to be people who want to help,” she said. “Sometimes, what needs to happen is they just need to be put in touch with people who need the help.”
Greenwade added that the forum will become more crucial as conditions improve. “There’s a lot of information being exchanged right now,” she said, citing status updates, neighborhood conditions, and travel reports people have shared. However, as efforts shift from rescue to recovery, the forum will likely see more requests and offers of assistance.
Greenwade credits the strong relationship among the three groups for turning a tragic situation into an opportunity to bring the Texas A&M community together. “When you have those relationships established, it makes it much easier to pull together something like this in times of crisis,” she said.