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LU supports resident students, provides options

Lamar University students who where sheltered from the storm in its Cardinal Village residence halls were presented with three options in an assembly today, the result of the loss of water service in the city of Beaumont.

Without water service, LU can’t continue to provide services for the 1,200 of students currently living on campus, officials said.

LU is providing opportunity for students to return home and continue their studies online, or stay on campus as the university makes accommodations despite the challenges. 

“Losing water services in the City of Beaumont has presented the university with a tremendous problem in providing ongoing support for the large number of residential students,” said LU President Ken Evans.

“We’ve been able to meet their immediate needs for the short term, but will not be able to do so for the large number of students as long as it may take for the city to restore its water services.”

During the period before, during and following the storm, LU was able to provide some activities and keep students safe, officials said.

“We have electricity, a good supply of drinking water, air conditioning, a dry place to sleep, Internet access, security, emergency medical care, and even dry ground,” said Evans. “It’s really something after everything going on in our surrounding communities, but we can’t sustain at this level for the duration that we anticipate the city will be without water.”

LU administrators presented students with three options, Evans said. Students with personal vehicles and a place to go that would provide for their needs will be provided up-to-date information on routes of travel that are open.

Students without cars would be provided transportation to temporary shelter at Stephen F. Austin State University, but would need to arrange transportation from there to their destination.

And thirdly, students who chose to remain on campus can do so, and the university will continue to provide for their needs as well, while also providing programming that will include service to the community in the wake of Harvey. For students who choose to remain on campus, the Sheila Umphrey Recreation Center will open, the Mary and John Gray Library will open and the dining service will provide meals three times each day, said Vicki McNeil, vice president for student engagement.

Great credit goes to the handful of staff members who have worked around the clock providing services for students who remained in Cardinal Village prior to, during and after the passing of Tropical Storm Harvey, Evans said.

A number of students pitched in to help meet the needs of Southeast Texas citizens who found themselves suddenly without homes and in need of shelter.

“We have been impressed with our resident students, especially with their eagerness to help out with meeting the needs of the many displaced persons who ended up in temporary shelter at the Montagne Center,” Evans said. “These are great young people and we are proud to call them Cardinals.”

The University is on track to begin classes Tuesday, Sept. 5, officials said. Some classes will meet face-to-face on campus, but will be available concurrently online through the university’s Blackboard system.

“There are tremendous challenges for our students, and also for our faculty, many of whom have been impacted by the unprecedented flooding,” said LU Provost Jim Marquart. “Working together we’ve established a way begin the semester and for our students to continue toward their educational goals.”

We are doing everything we can to make this environment safe, secure and vibrant,” Evans said. “As we start a new semester, we do so with a renewed sense of purpose, a community spirit, and a willingness to work together and help one another.”