Nicholls’ sponsorship program for those displaced by Hurricane Ida


Photo by Emilie Berger

Hurricane Ida devastated the bayou region of Louisiana, as it came with heavy rain and strong winds. It also affected most within the community of Nicholls State University.

Due to the heavy impact on students, Nicholls came up with a campus sponsorship program to help alleviate some of the hardships in the community. The day after Ida hit, all of the administrators and the housing administrator came together to brainstorm ways to help the Colonel Community. 

The program is made to house faculty, staff and students. Nicholls charges a different price based on how many will be living in this campus housing. 

For a single individual, it is $18.45 per night, an individual with pets is $20.04 per night, and families with or without pets is $38.54 per night. The fee only covers housing, however, the University will get the individual or families connected with meals donated by Sodexo, so they can have meals in the cafeteria. Individuals or families with a grant would be completely covered because they are the ones in the most dire need. The grant covers all expenses, housing, food, and some living essentials.

Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Michele Caruso, said, “Many sponsors have been gracious during this difficult time, so, we are so delighted and grateful that Shell is partnering with us and has sponsored about twenty of these living arrangements for our students.” 

Caruso also added that the BHP has been very generous in supporting the students of Nicholls, as they are also funding all of the renovations being down in Babington Hall  

“The Baton Rouge area foundation has contributed greatly to this effort as well, taking in our displaced students, faculty and staff,” Caruso said. “We also have really large and generous donations to our Nicholls foundation from other companies and individuals that have been a huge support to these displaced students, faculty and staff as well as in general to students, faculty and staff impacted by the hurricane.”

Dr. Caruso said that the University and Dr. Clune’s great relationships with local businesses and foundations is what allowed the University to act so swiftly.

“We originally had about 270 people that reached out, but in the meantime, about 92 have found other places that they could live or [that they] wanted to live [in],” Dr. Caruso said. “That is how we came to the 158 placements number, and that includes about 27 families.”

Not only does the program take in students and their families, but they take pets as well. 

Dr. Caruso said that Babington Hall has been on their radar to be pet friendly since even before the storm, and that the hurricane has quickened this plan.

Following the aftermath of the hurricane, they plan to make it a permanent situation. North Babington is the location for faculty and staff with pets, while South Babington has one floor with mainly cats and a few dogs. 

Meagan Rousse, junior Mass Communication major from Cut Off, lives in Babington Hall with her mom, dad, two brothers and their dog. The room is apartment-like with two bedrooms and a bathroom. 

“I am so grateful that housing and the University have given us this opportunity,” Rousse said. “It’s definitely something I never would have expected, and it is so wonderful and I’m glad that Nicholls has offered this to us.”

There are still rooms available if students, faculty or staff are displaced and want to be near campus. It could be that they no longer have a home, or if they thought they could live in their damaged home and realize that they cannot. Displaced people can reach out to housing or student affairs by either email or telephone. 

However, COVID-19 precautions are still in place, as the 3rd floor of South Babington is dedicated to be a quarantine space.