Campus Compact to implement 'Ready Campus'
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – A program designed to unite college campuses with their neighboring communities in emergency situations will soon be implemented statewide by Louisiana Campus Compact (LCC), a coalition of 33 Louisiana public and private colleges and universities focused on fulfilling the civic mission of higher education.
“Ready Campus” is a program designed to strengthen preparation for emergencies and plans for quick response, explained Stuart Stewart, executive director of Louisiana Campus Compact. The program was developed at College Misericordia and other institutions in Pennsylvania.
Staff from the Louisiana Board of Regents, the state’s higher education governing board, requested that LCC develop a Louisiana version of the Ready Campus program and have it in place to coordinate future disasters or emergencies. LCC conducted training programs last year for student leaders from colleges and universities throughout the state.
“The Ready Campus model takes into account that campuses must provide safe and secure learning environments and must also do all that is possible to shield students, faculty and staff from the effects of natural and man-made disasters and emergencies,” said Stephen T. Hulbert, president of Nicholls State University in Thibodaux and chair of the LCC Executive Committee.
“Catastrophic events, from hurricanes like Katrina and Rita to campus shootings such as those at Virginia Tech, from bomb threats to even inclement weather demonstrate the need for a well-prepared campus community,” he added. “This is the goal of the Ready Campus initiative.”
LCC has applied to the Louisiana Serve Commission to use 15 AmeriCorps members for the implementation of Ready Campus. Under the proposal submitted to the commission, LCC plans to develop a statewide DisasterCorps program. “The application that we have under review to host AmeriCorps members provides a unique opportunity to integrate service with disaster and emergency preparation,” said Stewart. “Through Ready Campus, it is our goal to create a ‘culture of preparedness’ on campuses where students, faculty and staff are equipped with the skills to respond in times of emergencies or disasters.
Under the plan, each of the 70 postsecondary educational institutions under the Board of Regents, as well as private institutions that wish to participate, will identify a Ready Campus leadership team. Teams will include campus police or security officers, student affairs professionals, faculty members, a senior-level administrator, student representatives and others. Members of the leadership teams will be asked to complete training programs sponsored by LCC and for disseminating information to the campus community. In 2007-2008, campus teams will participate in Community Emergency Responder Team (CERT), CPR, AED, and Incident Command System training.
In addition to the training, faculty will be allowed to apply for Ready Campus course integration grants. These grants will be used to integrate disaster and emergency preparation into college courses. Competition for the grants begins in the fall and will be open to faculty at LCC member institutions.
More information about the Ready Campus program can be obtained by contacting Louisiana Campus Compact headquarters at Southeastern Louisiana University, 985-549-2496.LCC member institutions include Baton Rouge Community College, Bossier Parish Community College, Centenary College of Louisiana, Delgado Community College, Dillard University, Grambling State University, Louisiana Delta Community College, Louisiana State University (LSU), LSU- Alexandria, LSU – Eunice, LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LSU-Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University, Louisiana Technical College, Loyola University of New Orleans, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Nunez Community College, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Our Lady of the Lake College, River Parishes Community College, South Louisiana Community College, Southeastern Louisiana University, Southern University, Southern University at New Orleans, Southern University at Shreveport, Sowela Technical and Community College, Tulane University, University of Louisiana-Layette, University of Louisiana-Monroe, University of New Orleans, and Xavier University.