ULS Students Continue to Aid Hurricane Recovery – Feb 8, 2008
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BATON ROUGE – Over the next year, New Orleans will see more faculty,
staff and students from the University of Louisiana System applying
classroom knowledge to help the city recover from Hurricane Katrina
thanks to service-learning grants.
The UL System awarded over $450,000 grants to 22 programs, most
tied to hurricane recovery. Three of those programs focus specifically on
• Northwestern State University counseling students will partner with
the New Orleans Recovery School District, the Seton Resource
Center of New Orleans and the Alexandria branch of the LSU Ag-
Center to provide school counselors in the recovery district with
resources and materials to help parents and students understand
the importance of school attendance.
• University of Louisiana at Lafayette students will work with the
Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana
to assess and provide recommendations to combat hunger, while
providing healthy and nutritious options for the needy.
• The Center for Child Development and the Applied Language and
Speech Sciences program at UL Lafayette will work with the
Orleans Parish School Board, the Recovery School District, the
Louisiana Public Health Institute, Agenda for Children, and Head
Start to support existing efforts to establish an early childhood and
family learning center at the Mahalia Jackson Center in New
Orleans’ Central City neighborhood.
“As Louisiana continues to recover from the devastating hurricanes of
2005, it is gratifying to know we have top faculty, staff and students at our
universities who will be investing their time, resources, and brainpower to
make a difference,” said UL System Board Chair Elsie Burkhalter, who lost
her Slidell home during Katrina and is still in the process of rebuilding.
The grants are made possible through a three-year, $1.2 million grant
to the UL System from the Learn and Serve America division of the
Corporation for National and Community Service. The awards presented
recently are the second phase of the three-year grant program. Last year,
the UL System awarded $606,918 to 29 projects.
More than 3,000 students participated last spring in the start of the first
round of programs. In one semester alone, they generated over 14,000
volunteer hours with 95 community partners in service-learning efforts.
Several of those first phase programs were aimed directly at New
Orleans recovery including Louisiana Tech University architecture and
design students who developed site-specific housing prototypes for the
Gert Town community and Grambling State University students who
conducted workshops, replenished band supplies and performed
community concerts at O. Perry Walker High School and St. Augustine
Service-learning provides numerous benefits to the student.
According to UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute, student
participation in service has positive impacts on leadership ability, grades,
retention, degree aspirations, critical thinking skills and commitment to
helping others in difficulty.
Furthermore, research shows at least 50 percent of students who
engage in service during college will continue volunteering after they
“Higher education today must not only provide students with a
competitive academic experience, we also must ensure that students led
by their own faculty will link classroom experiences with meaningful
opportunities to serve. The result is an improved society and a better
educated student,” said UL System President Sally Clausen. “We hope
these combined experiences will prepare students to make a better living
for themselves and a better life for others.”
In addition to the service-learning grants, University of Louisiana
System students, faculty, and staff participated in a Habitat for Humanity
build at Musicians’ Village in December called “Home is Where the Music
Lives.” Over 70 people participated in a wall raising and numerous
construction efforts in the ninth ward.
For more information about these programs and a full list of funded
projects, visit www.ulsystem.net.
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