OARDC establishes tornado relief fund for graduate student losses, landscaping

The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) has established a relief fund to assist graduate students affected by the Sept. 16 tornado that hit its Wooster campus and to help with landscaping and other beautification projects.

Individuals or businesses interested in contributing to this fund can mail their gifts to the Ohio State University Office of Development, 1625 Wilson Road, Wooster, OH 44691; or donate online at http://www.giveto.osu.edu. Please refer to the “OARDC Campus Tornado Relief Fund,” No. 313533. All gifts to the university are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

“We have been overwhelmed and pleased with the many offers of assistance we have received since the day of the tornado,” said OARDC Director Steve Slack. “This fund provides an opportunity for people at the university and in the community at large to help us get back on our feet.”

On Nov. 12, Newell Rubbermaid made the first gift to the fund, presenting OARDC with a $5,000 check. Rubbermaid’s Jim Copley said he hopes this donation will spur other local businesses to contribute to the fund as a way of “giving back to the community and supporting the important research OARDC conducts.”

“We very much appreciate this lead gift from Rubbermaid to ensure that we can rapidly respond to personal needs impacting our graduate students as well as being able to respond to requests to beautify the core campus grounds,” Slack said. “Rubbermaid’s gift is both a symbolic and a real testament to how people in Ohio step up in times of crisis.”

Two months since the powerful EF-2 tornado crushed greenhouses, leveled buildings and destroyed some 1,500 large trees on the campus grounds and the adjacent Secrest Arboretum, OARDC has completed cleanup efforts and continues to repair damaged structures. Such work, as well as the future rebuilding or replacement of buildings and greenhouses, is covered by insurance.

However, trees and other landscape-related items that were lost during the storm are not covered. Neither were several vehicles and other uninsured personal property owned by OARDC graduate students.

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