Excellence, Faith, Leadership, Service; the foundation of Marquette University’s guiding values, and the motivation behind each student’s aspirations.
As a Jesuit University, we strive for excellence in not only our personal and professional lives, but also in our community. We are continuously impressed with the degree at which our students represent our four pillars of value, as they continuously go above and beyond the high hopes, that we as a University, have for them.
On Tuesday, September 12, 2017, Marquette students once again surpassed University expectations.
As many know, a series of hurricanes have been ravaging the Gulf Coast and countless surrounding islands. Coastal states such as Florida and Texas were affected traumatically, as notorious hurricanes Harvey and Irma consumed hundreds of miles of land unforgivingly.
Rooted in service, several Marquette University clubs and organizations immediately took action. MARDI GRAS, a service organization dedicated to “making a real difference in the Gulf Region and areas surrounding,” followed closely the routes of both Harvey and Irma, as the organization traditionally provides disaster relief in New Orleans, LA., post-Katrina. 6 years after Katrina, MARDI GRAS began transporting groups to New York, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s impact. So, naturally, the student leaders involved in MARDI GRAS knew that they had to act quickly if they wanted to honor their mission statement of making a real difference in the presently distressed Gulf Region.
MARDI GRAS President, Danny Steeno (College of Health Sciences ‘19), promptly messaged his executive board in hopes to brainstorm possible ways to send aid as swift as possible to the affected areas of the Gulf Coast. Almost immediately, the executive board was contacted by the Vice President of Scholarship and Service for Marquette University’s Panhellenic Association. The Panhellenic Association, Panhel for short, strives to enrich the experiences of Marquette sororities, and foster relationships with other Marquette organizations, and the Milwaukee community as a whole. Several members of Panhel had also been following the paths of Harvey and Irma, and sought out MARDI GRAS to partner in a possible fundraiser for hurricane relief.
After much brainstorming, it was decided that both MARDI GRAS and Panhel would attempt to host an emergency fundraising event for those affected by the Gulf Coast hurricanes. From there, the two groups contacted other organizations and eventually gained the help of the University’s Interfraternity Council. It was publicized steadily through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and numerous other platforms, in order to reach many different facets of Marquette students, faculty, alumnae, and more. “We promoted the event by first alerting our Panhellenic delegates of the event details, then having them spread the word through each individual chapter,” Genevieve Kenah (College of Business Administration ‘19), Panhel’s Vice President of Public Relations, explained.
The event was hosted in the Wehr Chemistry Atrium and an accompanying lecture hall, on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The cover charge was $5, payable through cash or to the MARDI GRAS Venmo account. The cover charge included participation in an all-you-can-eat potluck, pizza, sweets, an in-depth and informative Power-Point overview of the importance of protecting and sending aid to the Gulf Coast regions, and admittance to a one hour performance by Marquette’s improv comedy group, the Fugees. Raffle tickets were also available for sale, where participants could win a percentage of the raffle money collected. Remaining funds from the raffle, as well as the cover charge, will be sent directly to Gulf Coast disaster relief organizations centered in New Orleans that MARDI GRAS is affiliated with, such as Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (YRNO). For more information on YRNO, please follow the link below.
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Altogether, the organizations drove in over three hundred participants, leading to a cumulative fundraising total of $1,609 raised. Kelly Bauer (Diederich College of Communications ‘20), a member of the Fugees, was “thrilled about the event’s turnout.” She mentioned that, “because this fundraiser was for such a great cause, [the Fugees] were happy to perform for anyone willing to dedicate their time to attending on a Tuesday night.” Similar to Kelly, Panhel was also “incredibly happy with attendance at the fundraiser, especially on such short notice,” Genevieve Kenah echoed. One event-attendee, Melissa Alburo (Klingler College of Arts & Sciences ‘19), stated that after viewing the presentation, she was “impressed with the haste that the students had towards organizing the event” and believes that audience members, as well as herself, will be “more inclined to participate in service groups after this fundraiser.”
The successful collaboration between diverse niches in the Marquette student body, all uniting around the common themes of service, humanity, and justice, does not go unnoticed. Through developing ideas, fostering relationships, and taking action, our Marquette community was able to grow more aware, selfless, considerate, and sympathetic, over the course of just one week. “The emphasis that Marquette puts on service is what makes our University experience unparalleled,” states Danny Steeno. “Before Marquette, I had no service experience. If you were to tell me freshman year, that in three years I would be volunteering at three hospitals, and President of a disaster relief organization, I would have said ‘no way,’” he chuckled. Danny continued, “Marquette wouldn’t be the same without service, and neither would I. It taught me to challenge myself by jumping out of my comfort zone, and led me to discover what I’m passionate about: my community.”
But what is next for the disaster relief organization? Danny Steeno suggests that “MARDI GRAS is trying to get into areas like Houston as soon as possible,” and that widening the proximity for the organization’s aid is “definitely on the radar.” Until then, we are excited to see how Danny Steeno and the rest of the leaders, organizations, and Marquette students, continue to go above and beyond the pillar of service that our University stands for.
To all those reading, Danny Steeno wishes to share his final driving quote:
“Compassion knows no boundaries.” — Amit Ray
To learn more about Marquette University’s Mission, Vision, and Guiding Values, please follow the link below: