September 06, 2005


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LEWISBURG, Pa. - Sixteen students from the area devastated by Hurricane Katrina had been processed to enroll as visiting students at Bucknell University as of Tuesday morning.

Eleven others have been offered the opportunity to continue their fall semester on the Lewisburg campus and are weighing their options.

"As expected, Bucknellians welcomed our newest students with open arms and a willingness to help," said President Brian C. Mitchell.

The visiting students began arriving Saturday. Six had arrived and were settling in over the weekend. Another seven moved in on Monday. At least three more are expected to arrive Tuesday. The visiting students, primarily from the Northeast, are coming from as far away as Florida and California.

Kurt Thiede, vice president for enrollment management and communications, said prospective visiting students have until Friday, Sept. 9, to register for classes.

"In spite of a tight situation due to full enrollments, places in the residence halls have been identified, including the use of apartments used for visiting artists and faculty speakers," said Thiede.

The university's invitation was apparently well received. At least 41 students had asked for information about enrolling and most of those had been enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans. From an evacuation site in Houston on Friday, Tulane's president declared that the fall semester had been canceled. His hope was to restart classes in spring 2006.

All told, as many as 75,000 college students in the hurricane-ravaged area have been affected by the disaster and many schools, including Bucknell, have adopted a fast-track application process to get students housed and into classes.

Mitchell said while the university has been focused on integrating the new students, it is also concerned about the approximately 200 alumni, parents, and friends who reside in Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. "This is a difficult time and our thoughts and prayers are with them," Mitchell said.

Meantime, Bucknell students have responded by welcoming the new students across campus. Over the weekend, in at least one residence hall, some were welcomed with balloons and chants of welcome.

At the Saturday Bucknell-Georgetown football game, the season's opener, student fundraisers carrying American Red Cross tins collected nearly $1,100 during the game, according to Elizabeth Lorson '07, a student volunteer and coordinator. "We are so excited," she said. "It was a great start."

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