Southeastern to raise funds for McNeese, Lake Charles


Wednesday, September 23, 2020 
by: Tonya Lowentritt 

     HAMMOND – As a result of the devastation brought by Hurricane Laura, four groups from Southeastern Louisiana University – the School of Nursing, the Office of Student Engagement, the Student Government Association, and University Police - are conducting fundraisers for both McNeese State University and the Lake Charles area.
     Southeastern’s School of Nursing has created an emergency fund to help faculty, staff and students in McNeese’s College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Southeastern’s Student Government Association and Office of Student Engagement are collecting monetary donations and gift cards for MSU students, faculty and staff. The University Police Department is collecting tangible supplies for residents of Lake Charles.
     School of Nursing Department Head Ken Tillman said Southeastern’s undergraduate nursing students have expressed concern for their counterparts at McNeese since the Hurricane hit the Lake Charles area. The Student Nurses Association is taking the lead on organizing efforts on behalf of all undergraduate nursing students. They reached out to SNA representatives at McNeese to ascertain their needs and found that the needs of McNeese nursing students and faculty are highly individual.
     “Each person has been impacted in some way by the devastating hurricane, ranging from being displaced from their home, to loss of clothes, books, school supplies, etc.,” Tillman said. “Since we are part of the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing with McNeese, ULL and Nicholls State, our graduate nursing faculty work closely with McNeese faculty and often have McNeese students enrolled in their courses. Our graduate nursing faculty who teach McNeese students have been reaching out and working with them to stay on track in their courses.”
     Southeastern Health and Human Sciences Department Head Jackie Guendouzi said her department is doing what it can to help as well.
     “Health Systems Management faculty at Southeastern have worked closely with MSU students enrolled in our classes to mentor them in this difficult time and to provide resources and accommodations,” she said. “They have also worked with MSU faculty to create alternate projects that will help provide continuity and exceptional alternate instructional and internship experiences.”
     Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth said both McNeese faculty and students are also facing challenges for continuity in nursing clinical.
     “Faculty and students alike are homeless, living with friends and family with generated power. Some have moved out of state or to nearby Lafayette and beyond and commute up to two hours one way to get to the hospitals to continue clinical experiences and stay on track for graduation,” she said. “Students have lost their books, computers, lab coats and stethoscopes, yet are still trying to go to clinical experiences and stay on track for graduation.”
     The priority right now, Carruth added, is finding living arrangements, getting electricity, while continuing to stay focused on work and, at the same time, travel to clean up property to rebuild. The Southeastern Foundation has set up a giving page for donations that is accessible online at All proceeds will go toward the college foundation account.
     Southeastern’s Office of Student Engagement and SGA are pitching in as well with relief for those affected by Hurricane Laura. Named “Lion Up for McNeese,” the effort entails collecting $20 gift cards from Visa, Target, or Walmart and distributing them to the faculty, staff, and students of McNeese. Individual gift cards should not exceed $20. Monetary donations are also accepted online at
     “Although our donations will not reconstruct Lake Charles overnight, we as fellow Louisianan’s will do all we can to help our fellow students at McNeese State University and the surrounding communities,” said SGA President L’Oreal Williams. “We are committed to being a part of the change in any way possible.”
     The University Police Department is collecting tangible supplies for the residents of Lake Charles. Suggestions for supplies include bottled water, packaged foods, cereal, feminine products, baby products, paper towels and bathroom tissue, personal care items, cleaning supplies, cat and dog food, powdered drink mixes, and safety products like earplugs or work gloves. Food service needs include disposable serve ware, commercial aluminum, napkins, trash bags, large ziplock bags and food service gloves.
     All efforts will run through Oct. 1. Gift cards can be delivered to the University Police Department, located in Pride Hall at 1301 SGA Drive, or to the Student Engagement Office in the Student Union West, room 2307. Supply donations can be dropped off at the Student Leadership and Governmental Affairs Office in the Student Union West, room 2302. Large items, such as cases of water, should be brought to the University Police Department.

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