Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 02:04 pm est

Disaster recovery organization teams up with T.V. streaming startup for Sandy relief

Posted on December 11, 2012 | by Kristina Bogos

While clearing underbrush and bagging debris from obliterated houses, Youssef Soras, a first-year graduate student in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, joined Rosally Sapla, vice president of communications at New Yor

Angular Cheilitis Overnight Cure

k-based start-up DramaFever, to brainstorm ways for students across the nation to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy.

This post-Hurricane Sandy trip to the Rockaway peninsula, volunteering with a group of young army veterans from the disaster relief organization Team Rubicon, was the inspiration behind DramaFever and Team Rubicon’s fundraising campaign Operation: Winter Break.

DramaFever, an online video platform that streams primetime TV, worked with Team Rubicon to design a campus-wide fundraising campaign for hurricane relief in the days following the storm’s landfall.

Under Operation: Winter Break, students can contribute donations until Jan. 6 by creating an online profile to share with friends and family or by purchasing a yearlong subscription to DramaFever. One hundred percent of the money raised will go directly to hurricane relief.

“We want to get people involved,” Sapla said. “If they want to volunteer with their hands, [they can]. If they want to volunteer by raising funds, then this is what Operation: Winter Break is. Here you have idle weeks of time … We thought, that’s the best audience to talk to … make a huge difference.”

Team Rubicon and DramaFever view tech-savvy and socially active college students as the target audience for raising funds and quickly spreading the word. DramaFever’s audience is roughly three million monthly viewers; a large proportion of the audience is college students. Using outlets like Facebook and Twitter, students play an integral role in reaching a wider audience in the hopes of exceeding the campaign’s $15,000 goal, though the public can pitch in as well.

“Young people should be aware of [giving back] because if they are aware of this … then they will teach it to their kids and their grandkids and it will keep on growing,” Soras said. “If we don’t start here, I don’t know where else is a good place to start.”

Jennifer Shin, Steinhardt junior and former DramaFever intern, plans to fundraise once she completes final exams. She sees the campaign as an opportunity to build a community that extends further than the NYU campus.

“The ultimate goal is to get students together for a greater cause because something like this really hits home especially when it’s so close to us,” Shin said. “Hopefully it will create some sort of sense of community so we can all help, so we can all do something.”

Soras described the current state of the Rockaways as a condition where families struggle to recuperate and where the devastation is a clear indicator that the need for assistance is still strong.

“If there was no street sign, I think you wouldn’t know that you were in America,” he said. “You would think you were in a third-world country.”

Part of the reward for the person who raises the top funds is a guided tour of a Team Rubicon volunteer site. Visit for more information.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Dec.11 print edition. Kristina Bogos is a staff writer. Email her at


  • Rosally R. Sapla

    The easiest way to help and get to “Operation: Winter Break” fundraising page to learn more is to just type in “”. Otherwise, you have to know where to find it. Typing that in will get you right there.

    Also, all volunteers and fundraisers are invited to come to a January 21 Fundraiser+Thank You get-together. Location details will be on the Operation: Winter Break page and on the DramaFever blog and Facebook Page. Hope to see you there!

profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.