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LSU game raises more than $1 million

Proceeds to support new LSU students

 by Ryan Kost  published on Monday, September 12, 2005

ASU President Michael Crow presents a check for $1 million in Hurricane Katrina relief at Saturday's football game against Louisiana State./issues/news/693767
Danielle Peterson / THE STATE PRESS
ASU President Michael Crow presents a check for $1 million in Hurricane Katrina relief at Saturday's football game against Louisiana State.
 
Illuminated against the night sky, Sun Devil Stadium was nearly filled to capacity Saturday.  Among the 63,216 that attended the game, evacuees and newly acquired students from affected regions of Hurricane Katrina cheered from donated seats and sections./issues/news/693767
Danielle Peterson / THE STATE PRESS
Illuminated against the night sky, Sun Devil Stadium was nearly filled to capacity Saturday. Among the 63,216 that attended the game, evacuees and newly acquired students from affected regions of Hurricane Katrina cheered from donated seats and sections.
 

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Teamwork transcended rivalry Sunday as both ASU and LSU fans cheered the more than $1 million in funds the game raised for Hurricane Katrina relief.

The football game turned into a fund raiser a week ago when the venue was changed from Louisiana to Sun Devil Stadium and the decision was made to donate all proceeds to the Bush-Clinton Hurricane Relief Fund.

"We're playing football, but we're really raising money," Crow said. "I don't think people understand the scope of this thing."

In a press conference before kickoff, Crow and LSU Chancellor Sean O'Keefe said helping with relief efforts was the real aim of the evening, as they announced the formation of the Hurricane Student Relief Fund.

The fund will help support the more than 3,000 newly-registered LSU students who were displaced by the hurricane, which O'Keefe described as "9/11 over a 100-mile radius."

"When push comes to shove, Americans all come together," he said. "It's a tremendous indication of, in the end, what this all about."

Meghan McCabe, 19, is one of more than 60 transfer students from the hurricane-touched region who has found a new home at ASU.

Though McCabe didn't attend LSU -- she was a student at Loyola University -- she said she wasn't sure which school's colors to don during the game.

"It's a tough call who to root for," she said. "It's great to see [both universities] rise to the occasion like this. They've risen above competition."

Christopher Claverie, 36, had no problem deciding to cheer for LSU during the game. A former New Orleans resident, Claverie was one of hundreds of evacuees brought to Arizona.

Claverie was able to stop by his home before leaving Louisiana, and while the damage wasn't as bad as it could have been -- his house is elevated a little higher than most -- it was still extensive.

"Truthfully, I feel lucky to be alive," he said. "Everything else can be replaced."

Claverie said the game would be emotional for him, but he was happy to be able to watch it.

"I think it's great that ASU and LSU decided to get together to do this," Claverie said. "This is something where you can get a few minutes of normalcy."

He's also decided to make Arizona a permanent home, but Claverie said he'd be sure to go back to New Orleans for a visit now and again once the damage was cleared up.

"I'm going to go home to visit. I mean, you can't miss Mardi Gras," he said.

Signs of goodwill could be spotted throughout the stadium, from people with buckets at every entrance collecting relief money to shirts being sold that read "two teams, one goal."

The field even paid homage to relief efforts, reading "together we stand" at one end zone.

ASU finance junior Rick Kendrick said winning wasn't everything, but he hoped the Sun Devils would take the victory.

"It's unfortunate what happened down there, but it'd be great to see [ASU] win," he said.

The game drew 63,210 people, leaving less than 9,000 seats unoccupied. As of press time, nobody could be reached to verify the total dollar amount raised.

Crow said many local businesses and community members also donated to the cause, helping the University surpass its original fund raising goal.

Reach the reporter at rkost@asu.edu.




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