Oklahoma disaster brings out volunteer spirit

May 23, 2013 3:15 PM

Carol Schlueter

Take the Tulane dedication to public service, infuse it with an Oklahoma pitch-in spirit, and that’s Brennah Murphy, who just finished her sophomore year at Tulane University. Days after she headed home to Oklahoma, the May 20 tornado devastated Moore, Okla. She and her family live 15 miles from the disaster area, and she wanted to help out her community.

Tulane student Brennah Murphy

Tulane student and Oklahoma City native Brennah Murphy pitches in to organize donations for tornado victims as her home city recovers from the devastating storm. (Photo by Gary Murphy)

Murphy didn’t have to look far to find a way to assist those citizens left homeless by the storm. Her twin sister, Devin, is a student at Oklahoma City University and is a resident adviser for OCU’s student apartments. With the student housing empty during the summer, the university is making the apartments available as temporary housing for storm victims.

So the Murphy twins joined other volunteers to clean up apartments this week and make them ready for the new residents. In the process, donations of food, toiletries, cleaning supplies and clothing came streaming in for the families’ use.

Among those bringing in donations was Tulane senior and Oklahoma City native Sarah Cox, who is Brennah Murphy’s big sister in Sigma Delta Tau sorority.

“Honestly, that’s just kind of the atmosphere of Oklahoma, we’re known to pull together,” Murphy said in a telephone interview on Thursday (May 23).

That camaraderie also extends to Murphy’s other Tulane friends from as far away as New York and California. They have lent support by staying in contact with her and making donations via text messages to the Red Cross, she said.

“Tulane is a place of community service, and it really shines through even when my friends don’t have to do it,” she said.

The 19-year-old, who came to Tulane for its neuroscience program but also majors in German, has volunteered in New Orleans as a reading tutor for second-graders. As for her volunteer work this week, she said simply, “I just did what I could.”

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu