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Displaced Students Find a Home at SUNY Plattsburgh

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ The State University of New York College at Plattsburgh will be welcoming three students who have been displaced due to Hurricane Katrina. These students were preparing for their first day of classes at various universities in New Orleans, including the University of New Orleans (UNO), Tulane University and Xavier University, when Katrina barreled in from the Gulf Coast on Monday (Aug. 29).

Noting the urgency to act quickly, SUNY Plattsburgh opened its doors for the displaced students, even though it would be a week into the semester before they could arrive on campus.

One student, a junior from St. Kitts in the Caribbean, was participating in the National Student Exchange Program at UNO. He is currently in Baton Rouge, La.  and will fly to New York City tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 3) where he will see family members and pick up clothes and other items. He will return to SUNY Plattsburgh next week to begin class work.

Another student, originally from Queens, N.Y. and a former Clinton Community College student, had transferred to Xavier for the fall semester. He is now making his way to SUNY Plattsburgh where he will also begin class work next week.

A third student, originally from Vermont, had transferred to Tulane University where she was set to start classes. She has decided to continue her studies at SUNY Plattsburgh for the fall semester.

"This has been such a tragic situation for everyone involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," said Dr. John Ettling, president of the College. "Our thoughts are with the people of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. We are looking forward to welcoming these students to campus. We also send a special message of hope to our nearly 120 alumni who live in the affected areas."

Students, Faculty, Staff Support Relief Efforts

SUNY Plattsburgh community members have sprung into action to do their part for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Local fundraising efforts have been started by students in the residence halls and the Greek community.

"Residence Hall Councils will also be meeting early next week to discuss ways to help those in need in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama," said Cori Matthews, director of the Center for Service Learning and Volunteerism at SUNY Plattsburgh.
Matthews said she is coordinating the relief effort on campus with the American Red Cross.

"The Red Cross is looking for cash donations and not supplies because they don't have the ability right now to move goods."

The faculty and staff will also have the opportunity to participate in a "dress down Friday" fundraiser. With a $20 donation to hurricane relief, faculty and staff will be able to dress casually on Fridays during the fall semester.

"Faculty and staff members who donate can dress casual, neat but casual, this semester to support hurricane relief efforts," said Matthews.  

SUNY Offers to Enroll Displaced Students

Acting SUNY Chancellor John Ryan said Thursday that the nation's largest public university system with 64 campuses, including SUNY Plattsburgh, will open its doors to Gulf Coast students who attend colleges that are unable to open for classes.

SUNY spokesman Dave Henahan said a fast-tracked application process is under development and more details are available at (800) 481-2905. The toll-free information hot line will be in operation over this weekend from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Henahan said the measure can be particularly appealing for students from New York who may have lost most of their belongings, as it allows them a chance to continue their education close to home.
With a combined student population of about 31,000 students, the largest colleges in New Orleans include the UNO, Tulane University, Loyola University and Xavier University.

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