Students from more than three dozen U.S. colleges and at least one high school will be holding events across the country next week to draw attention to the ongoing disaster in the Gulf -- and to demand federal legislation for a New Deal-style rebuilding program.

The Post-Katrina College Summit is a week-long effort to raise awareness about the Gulf Coast through documentary films, speakers, spoken word, blood drives, rallies, petition drives, reading the names of Katrina victims, and other events.

"The Summit is an attempt to catapult New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast back into the national consciousness and to promote federal legislation for a New Deal-style program for the Gulf Coast," according to a statement from the organizers.

The gathering is an outgrowth of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project. The brainchild of Scott Myers-Lipton, a sociology professor at San Jose State University, the project has brought students and faculty together nationwide to press the federal government to launch a civic works program in the Gulf Coast that would create 100,000 rebuilding jobs for the region's residents. The project organizers estimate that the cost of the program, which includes job training, would be about $4 billion.

The Institute for Southern Studies' Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch program included the project's demand for the civic works program in our February 2007 report on post-Katrina reconstruction efforts titled "A New Agenda for the Gulf Coast." Let's hope the powers-that-be give this excellent idea the attention it deserves.