Hurricane Season is Here! Are You Prepared? See How Loyola Faced Isaac Last Fall

By Katie Cannella, Area Director of Carrollton Hall
Loyola University New Orleans

While his appearance was quick, his effects have been long-lasting.  The Office of Residential Life has taken Isaac as both validation of good decision making and an opportunity for change. After assessing the severity of the storm and consulting with the Emergency Management Team, the Residential Life professional staff created a plan for sheltering in place. Each building hosted hall meetings and starting at 4pm on Tuesday, August 28, each entered into "lock down" until weather conditions subsided and it was considered safe to be outside.

Prior to the storm's onset, Residential Life prepared by collecting information from each student about their evacuation plan or their location in the halls during the storm.  Rosters were given to Resident Assistants to help track both the students and their guests and numbers were shared with Dining Services who delivered bottled water and other non-perishable food to each residence hall.  Food options during the stay indoors included a packaged lunches containing a variety of sandwich options, chips, fruit, and dessert along with a few hot meals of such as red beans and rice and hamburgers and hot dogs.

During the storm, staff was completing rounds every hour or two to check on student health and noting any and all facilities issues.  While several rooms on campus were retaining a various quantities of water, student facilities staff was present to assist in the quick removal of water during the storm and crews moved in shortly after power was restored to do deep cleanings of each space that took in any amount of water.  Since the storm has passed, the list of facilities issues experienced during the storm have been passed on to various contractors and engineers for improvements and repairs – including resealing balcony and rooftop ledges, replacing sections of damaged drywall, and repairing an elevator.

Despite the inclement weather outside and some water in student spaces, the halls remained a place of both safety and entertainment.  Resident Assistants remained in the halls to complete resident counts, room checks, additional rounds, and responded to emergencies. They also worked hard to build community through board games, hallway socials, talent shows, and conversation. During this time, new relationships were established and community built among both residents and staff. We are excited about our successes during the storm and cannot thank our student staff enough for all of their hard work.

In addition to these successes, our Residential Life team has been working hard since the storm to look critically at the decisions made before, during and after, so that the next time provides even more comfort and clarity for our students.  In the next few months, we are looking to develop the following:

1. A decision flow chart for Residential Life during tropical storm and hurricane weather
2. Plans regarding staffing needs during various steps
3. Lists of supplies needed for each step for preparation and implementation
4. Plans for communication with students and families using voicemail recordings, emails, texts, website and social media updates
5. A complied list of general tips for preparing for tropical storm and hurricane weather

Battle of the Halls Encourages Pride in University Housing

Southeastern Louisiana University

Hall Council, our on campus resident student organization at

Southeastern Louisiana University, challenged our students this semester to rethink the way we show our school spirit and building community pride! Hall Council Chairman Ryan Pattison, Advisor Bevann McCartney, President Amber Wallace and other executive board members devised a plan to encourage Hall participation and pride through a Battle of the Halls points system and t-shirt design.

Hall Council sold custom made Hall t-shirts for the low price of $5 per shirt to students beginning at our “Move-In Mane-Ia” event in which all new students checked into their new homes and ending on the last day of the first full week of class. Each Residence Hall was assigned a color, the color of the shirts purchased by the specific residents of a hall correlates to the Hall color. “When we designed the shirts, our goal for the first semester was to sell at least 100 shirts to residents, we were blown away when we sold over 550 shirts! We then knew that our residents were serious about getting involved on campus and inspired us to make this program as interactive as possible!” said Hall Council Chairman Ryan Pattison.  Students who purchased these shirts can win points for their hall through participation of campus events, and specific events designed by hall council. Events in which students could earn points included “Pride Night- wear your Hall shirt to the cafeteria,” “Oktoberfest  Outdoor Carnival,” “Fear Factor,” “Big Butt Round Up- FRESH PEEPS/ FRESH CAMPUS”, “Pumpkin Carving Contest”, and more! Hall Council has given the residents over 40 opportunities this semester for residents to gain points toward their hall. Our campus has experienced an increase in student attendance at athletic events as students can earn points for their hall by attending key athletic events. One prize for the hall with highest football game attendance this semester includes a coveted Party on the Patio in Strawberry Stadium on the last game day of the season.  The Lions Athletic Association teamed up with Hall Council to provide the winning Hall with dinner and VIP access into the last home game as a reward for having the most participation at the home games!

Hall Council e-mails the residents bi-weekly with upcoming events and opportunities to earn hall points. Hall Council also purchased a billboard sized display board which hangs in Cayman Cafeteria for students to be able to view their hall points and see their progress. Our Hall Council has also obtained hundreds of Facebook friends that they update with the current points standings and upcoming events. This successful program has led to more student engagement and participation in campus events. “Our program this semester has been so successful; we have had organizations and departments come to us and ask us if we can include their event in our points system to gain participation at on campus events,” said President Amber Wallace.  Since the start of the program, over 10 more events have been added this semester. Every day, students are seen proudly wearing their shirts all over campus.  Plans for future expansion of the program include incorporating our upperclassman apartment complex and Greek Village community into the program. “I am proud to work with this group of students in Hall Council! This color system is very well planned program to increase involvement and we notice its effects already, “stated Bevann McCartney.

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