Following the devastation of Hurricane Ida, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette established the Student Emergency Fund. To date, it has raised over $70,000 for students who have been impacted by the hurricane.
In early September, UL Lafayette began collecting donations for the Student Emergency Fund to assist those students that were affected by Ida.
“Many UL Lafayette students – almost 3,900 – are from the southeastern Louisiana parishes affected by Hurricane Ida… Our goal is to relieve some students’ worries about meeting financial obligations and remain focused on academic success,” wrote Dean of Students Margarita Perez in an email calling for donations to the fund.
The Student Emergency Fund has since raised $70,720 from 225 donors. Students affected by Hurricane Ida were able to complete an application to request emergency funds, and from there the University determined how best to allocate the money.
According to the application, the Student Emergency Fund could cover laptops and other computer accessories, Internet plans, educational software, costs associated with testing or purchasing supplies needed for remote learning, housing or rent and other essential needs.
When asked about why she believes the Student Emergency Fund has been able to collect as much money as it did, Perez spoke on the compassion inherent to the “Ragin’ Cajun spirit.”
“The Ragin’ Cajun spirit is one of caring and compassion which drives each of us to help one another during difficult times. Lending a hand to help others in needs is who we are and what our community does anytime our students are in need of assistance. Our alumni and friends of the university stepped up in big ways to help our students impacted by Hurricane Ida.”
John Claude Arceneaux, interim alumni director at the UL Lafayette Alumni Association described the Student Emergency Fund as allowing “alumni, community supporters, pretty much anybody who wanted to donate to the effort to go to a single source and donate. It’s a way to combine the efforts of all the different parties interested in helping into a single way to help students at UL.”
Arceneaux further added that he didn’t think the Student Emergency Fund would accumulate as much money as it did, saying “I’m very proud that our alumni, our family, our friends, they all stepped up. It’s very impressive.”
The UL Lafayette Alumni Association played a role in calling for donations to the Student Emergency Fund, working together with the university and sending out emails to all of UL Lafayette’s alumni from around the country to ask for contributions.
“The alumni support here at UL is very generous. Some of the donations did come from out of state,” said Arceneaux.
Currently, UL Lafayette is still in the process of allocating and distributing the funds collected to the students from the most impacted areas.
The funds are first processed by the UL Foundation, then transferred to the Dean of Students for distribution to those in need. The money will be placed on student accounts, and the students will be notified once they receive them. As of now, about 230 UL Lafayette students will be receiving funds.