A flood of volunteers

College campuses provide more than a place of higher learning and education. They foster deeply rooted bonds of friendship and community. The student body of every college campus is diverse yet unified in similar beliefs and values. Campuses have the ability to become families, especially in times of hardship and distress. One of the most recent examples of this is at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge Louisiana.

The disaster happened the summer of 2016. An unprecedented flood impacted areas in Southern Louisiana and caused millions of dollars’ worth of damage to homes and businesses in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas. Some people had up to four feet of water in their homes and everything they owned was lost or ruined in the floodwaters.

Student life saw an impact. Students at Louisiana State University had already started moving into their dorms for the fall semester, and many activities were planned for the following week to help new students be acclimated to the campus. The rain started Friday night and then continued throughout the weekend. This rain led to interstate and road closures that prevented other students from moving into their rooms and those who were already on campus from leaving. These conditions lasted for about two days until waters receded and began to drain.

shelter for victims of natural disaster on campus

Our campus was safe, but never the same. Most of the campus did not sustain much damage, but things changed. The basketball stadium was used as a medical shelter to help flood victims from across the state, and many of the planned activities were cancelled because of the road conditions and individual circumstances. One major and significant change was the students’ compassion toward each other.

Students stick together and help the community. In typical Southern fashion, many people began searching for ways to help their neighbors get through these tough situations. As soon as the roads were clear, students from LSU’s main campus immediately began volunteering at local shelters, food banks, makeshift triage stations, and even a movie studio soundstage that had been converted into a large shelter and care center for victims.

In the end, a campus, which had been noticeably divided by tensions over social issues, came together to support the suffering community. Multiple fundraising and volunteering services were started by concerned students and have continued to help people in the city and the surrounding area. Even other universities from across the country sent aid to the Baton Rouge community. This flood, though a horrible and devastating event, has helped the city to repair broken ties and mend relationships broken by social prejudice and distrust.

Sarah LaBordeHi Y’all! My name is Sarah Catherine LaBorde, and I am a Campus Ambassador at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am currently a freshman pursuing a double major in Mass Communications:Public Relations and Business. Enjoy the blog, and GEAUX TIGERS!