THIBODAUX, La. (BRPROUD) — Nicholls State University is returning to class three weeks after Hurricane Ida. But life is not yet back to normal for everyone, so the school is working to help their students and staff recover.
“Nicholls is their home. We have students that have been displaced from apartments, faculty and staff that have been displaced from the apartments where they’re living. We have faculty and staff that have lost everything as well,” said Dean of Students Janice Lyn.
Students who lost their homes or had to be evicted from their apartments due to damage were invited to live on campus in dorms. It is at no cost to them as well as meal plans thanks to donations.
Jaida Joyce was one of the students who had to move in. This was her first time going through a hurricane.
“It was very sad. It was more sad knowing there were families that didn’t have a school or a dorm or anything to come back to so I am really blessed to have that opportunity,” Joyce said.
There are multiple spots on campus where students can pick up food, water and anything else they may need. The school is working to extend the financial coverage into next semester as recovery continues.
“We had an old residential hall that had fallen into disuse over the last couple of years. BHP has helped us renovate that space,” said Nicholls State University President Jay Clune.
The Baton Rouge Area Foundation also helped renovate one of the floors of the residence hall to open up dozens of more beds.
The university surveyed their students to find out their needs following the storm and about 180 have moved on campus. Students returned to their classes on Monday after three weeks off. With severe damage at home, the school understands the desire for normalcy.
“I think they’re trying to make our schedules the exact way as it is, keep a routine, and try to keep our minds off what is going on,” said junior John Carrington.
To make up for the lost school days, most of the breaks have been removed or cut in half and the semester will end later than normal.
The university said there are still hundreds of students they haven’t heard from after the storm. They’re afraid that those folks that live down the bayou still don’t have electricity or access to the internet to respond to them. There are plans for them to go down there to make contact and bring any resources they may need.
The school has created the Nicholls Campus Emergency and Hurricane Relief Fund that will go towards getting students the help they need as the region recovers from the storm.