CORVALLIS, Ore. - Sixteen students who were planning to attend colleges and universities in the Gulf Coast region ravaged by Hurricane Katrina enrolled for fall term at Oregon State University in the first four days the institution accepted applications.
Among the 16, seven are freshmen, seven are transfers, one is a post-baccalaureate student and one is a graduate student.
OSU Director of Admissions Michele Sandlin said she is constantly checking e-mail and even gave out her home telephone number to help students apply.
"Our campus-wide effort was great," Sandlin said. "I contacted various people, and they immediately came up with contact information and plans on how to help these students. We made sure we were on all the national listservs where students would go first [for enrollment information]."
OSU created an expedited application process, including a "bare bones" web application form, Sandlin said. There is one relief application for all student types, and it doesn't require an application fee, housing application fee or completion of an "insight resume" - a series of questions designed to elicit short but detailed answers.
Students can be admitted by providing one of the following: student identification, a letter of admission from a Gulf Coast institution, a transcript or a grade slip. And though classes begin on Sept. 26, OSU will accept applications from Gulf Coast students through 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 30, for fall term.
University Housing and Dining Services had accommodated four requests for on-campus housing by Monday, according to assistant director Dan Larson, who anticipates additional requests. "We have space available and are usually able to confirm an assignment within 24 hours," he said.
Phi Gamma Delta fraternity has offered to provide housing for five students from any of the universities and colleges affected by Hurricane Katrina. The offer includes housing and meals free of cost for five students throughout the Fall 2005 quarter.
Jackie Balzer, dean of Student Life, said 21 families - mostly faculty and retired faculty - have offered rooms in their homes for students.
OSU students are heading to the Gulf Coast to help out, as well.
Matthew Turkington, a senior in the College of Engineering, will lead a volunteer team of information technology experts in the setup of temporary communications, including an internet telephone bank, at an Air Force base in Texas where more than 20,000 people displaced by the hurricane are living.
Kyla Johnson, vice president of the Associated Students of OSU, is in a National Guard reserve unit that was called up to provide relief. The university is easing fall deadlines for students who have been called up for active duty in the National Guard and can't make it back to campus in time for the beginning of the school year. Fans at the Sept. 3 OSU home football game contributed a total of $42,250, which was given to the American Red Cross at the Sept. 10 home game.
OSU is involved in several efforts to help the evacuees, including selling Mardi Gras beads at restaurants on campus and collecting touchtone phones. For more information about the university's efforts, go to http://oregonstate.edu/events/newsevents/katrina/.