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Binghamton extends support to students displaced by hurricane

Binghamton University has admitted at least 40 under-graduates from Tulane University and the University of New Orleans who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina and is still working with some additional students.

The undergraduates, many of whom live in New York and the Northeast, have been admitted, enrolled and housed for the fall semester as visiting students. Binghamton University and Tulane University have similar student profiles and a number of these students had applied to or expressed interest in the University during their college search process.

“I believe it is very important that the higher education community pull together and help the institutions affected by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina,” President Lois B. DeFleur said. “We also are concerned about the people more generally in the region who will experience the effects of Katrina for many months.”

DeFleur encourages campus groups to support national relief efforts by agencies such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster or other charitable organizations.

To aid in the transition for the displaced students, who include freshmen through seniors, Binghamton University’s faculty, residential life, counseling and academic advising staffs are providing course registration options, student housing and counseling as needed.

Freshman Dana Schwaeber and her roommate from Tulane have both enrolled at Binghamton and will remain roommates. “Coming here — it’s like a real college,” the Long Island resident said last week, soon after moving into her new room in Chenango Hall. “Looking at the city of New Orleans itself, 80 percent of the city is covered in water.”

Her father, Philip Schwaeber, said it was remarkably easy to deal with the process of changing his daughter’s school for the semester.

“We thank God that we were there with her, that she didn’t have to experience this herself,” he said. “We were able to supply support for her, and she’s been a trouper, having the beginning of her college experience pulled out from under her.”

Campus organizations are working to ensure she and other displaced students will be as comfortable as pos-sible and have the resources they need to succeed. Those who wish to may send a check to the Binghamton Uni-versity Foundation earmarked for those displaced students.

Barnes & Noble has donated up to $4,500 and will give each student a $100 credit toward book purchases. Sodexho will give each student a $50 courtesy card, which they can use for meals until their meal plan is established.

Special welcome baskets are also being prepared for the students, and Tulane alumni who work at Binghamton have planned a welcome reception.

In addition to working with undergraduates, Bing-hamton is offering assistance to professors and graduate students displaced by the hurricane. Many departments have made overtures to colleagues and the University will work on an individual basis with those requesting assistance. For example:

• Graduate students in need library and research facilities will be eligible to use the University’s facilities and they will be admitted on a space-available basis.

• Faculty members of colleges and universities in the disaster area are discussing opportunities to work with Binghamton faculty for access to office space, libraries, research facilities and the Internet. According to records in the Alumni and Parent Relations Office, Binghamton University has 101 alumni in Louisiana, 36 in Mississippi and 96 in Alabama.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08