More than 200 McNeese State University students have registered for the Cowboy Relief Effort, a University of Louisiana System initiative that connects students displaced by Hurricane Laura with resources at the eight other System member institutions.
Capitalizing on the geographic diversity of the System, the System president along with the nine university presidents signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to provide McNeese students with access to campus resources such as Wi-Fi, libraries, computer labs, rec centers, campus dining options, counseling, and other health services.
“The McNeese community is strong and resilient, and they are already on the path to recovery,” UL System President and CEO Jim Henderson said. “This effort is an opportunity to provide a sense of normalcy for these students whose semesters, already impacted by COVID-19, were turned upside down by Hurricane Laura. Coming together in support of our own is a valued strength of this System.”
The relief effort, launched two weeks ago, has attracted 213 students including Ashlee Sebren, a senior studying agricultural education at McNeese. In the past couple of weeks, Sebren, a Jackson Parish native, has accessed campus resources including the libraries at both University of Louisiana Monroe and Louisiana Tech University.
“The universities have been so welcoming and accepting, and I actually feel like a college student again thanks to them,” Sebren said.
She also credits McNeese faculty and administration for putting students first while navigating the aftermath of the hurricane.
McNeese students resumed classes remotely Sept. 18. Classes will remain fully online for the remainder of the fall semester.
Hurricane Laura made landfall on Louisiana’s southwest coast on Aug. 27. The storm’s eye passed directly over Lake Charles and McNeese State University causing catastrophic damage. McNeese plans to welcome students back to campus in January 2021.