Contact: Deanna Howes Spiro, Vice President of Communications, AJCU
Last weekend, the city of New Orleans and surrounding areas in Louisiana were hit by Hurricane Ida. As a result, trees and power lines collapsed, buildings were damaged, and the city lost power, affecting more than 1 million people.
At Loyola University New Orleans (located in the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans), physical damage to the campus was minimal, but the lack of electricity prompted the University to evacuate students and push classes online. While many students were able to return home, hundreds more required temporary housing, which was offered to Loyola by fellow Jesuit institution, Spring Hill College, located in Mobile, AL.
This week, administrators at Loyola and Spring Hill worked closely to facilitate shuttles between the two campuses on the Gulf Coast. Students in need of housing (including local commuters from New Orleans) will be able to reside temporarily in dorms on Spring Hill’s campus for the next few weeks, while taking classes remotely.
Tania Tetlow, J.D., President of Loyola, said, “We are so grateful to Spring Hill for helping us in our time of need. They have welcomed hundreds of our students in exactly the way the Gospels call on us to do, and we are overwhelmed. I cannot thank President E. Joseph Lee, Ph.D. and his team enough. We can’t wait to welcome our students back, but we are delighted they have such a nice place to stay while we wait for power to return to New Orleans.”
On Tuesday, Spring Hill welcomed its first group of students from Loyola. Pictures from move-day can be found on Spring Hill’s Facebook page. More students will be arriving throughout the week, before Loyola’s residence halls close temporarily on Friday. President Lee of Spring Hill said, “It’s an honor to assist the students, faculty, and staff from our sister Jesuit school. This is part of our tradition of service. But most important, it’s following Christ’s example of helping those in need. We welcome them to the campus and to the city of Mobile.”
This is not the first time that a Jesuit institution opened its doors to assist students in need of temporary housing: in 2005, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities worked with its members to coordinate a national response to Hurricane Katrina, by finding available spaces on their campuses for Loyola students to complete their fall semester. Today, a bench in the shape of a wave sits on Loyola’s campus, featuring the names of schools and individuals who offered their support to students, faculty and staff sixteen years ago.
For daily updates on conditions at Loyola and across New Orleans, please visit emergency.loyno.edu. For those who would like to offer assistance: Loyola has a Student Hardship Fund that is used to distribute grants directly to students in need, ensuring that they have resources to continue their education. Immediate use gifts to the student hardship fund can be made here.