Monday, September 3

Giving Back in New Orleans

It is now the second official week of school and I have not attended a single class. No, I am not skipping. Thanks to Hurricane Isaac, Tulane was closed last week from Tuesday to Saturday. While many students enjoyed their “hurrication,” others languished in the heat and darkness of the dorms that lost power during the school-wide lockdown. I personally evacuated to my home, which also lost power during the storm. However, distance and lack of electricity could not keep me from writing for this week's issue of the Hullabaloo! While last week I wrote a story for news, this time I wrote a views story on volunteerism in Tulane students. You can find this and other Hullabaloo stories here.

Students have a responsibility to give back

As I filed into McAlister Auditorium alongside hundreds of my classmates for the president's convocation on Saturday, I was excited to get my first glimpse of an official Tulane ceremony. President Scott Cowen approached the podium to address the new freshman class.

“[New Orleans] has all the issues and problems that plague other great cities throughout our country,” Cowen said. “But now it has you, who have joined in the effort to tackle these problems and improve the lives of those in need.”

Cowen explained that as members of the Tulane community, students are expected to engage in community service and have new experiences that will help the student body grow.

“At Tulane, you will not live in an ivory tower,” Cowen said. “You will also live out there, in the city and sometimes farther afield, in foreign countries, clocking hours at community centers, drop-in clinics, urban gardens, construction sites, schools and churches, meeting unforgettable people, changing their lives, and having your own lives changed by them.”

As Tulane students, we are expected and required to participate in community service during our four years here. This philosophy of volunteering, however, extends beyond our time at Tulane. This university fosters the spirit of service in its students and expects that they will carry it with them for the rest of their lives.

In his address, Cowen spoke about Hurricane Katrina, the most devastating disaster in New Orleans' modern history.

“I’ve spoken many times about Hurricane Katrina and how it transformed Tulane, ushering in a new era of community service and experiential learning,” Cowen said. “Seven years later, we are still reimagining ourselves, but in a spirit that looks not backward to the disaster but ahead to the future.


Though the storm occurred seven years ago, the damaging and tragic effects of Katrina still linger in parts of New Orleans today.

Participating in the restoring of post-Katrina New Orleans is a fulfilling and meaningful experience, and many non-profit, New Orleans-based organizations still exist that build up areas torn apart by Katrina.

There are endless opportunities to give back to the community that has given us so much. We are among the most privileged young people in the world by virtue of the fact that we have the opportunity to receive a Tulane education. We have the responsibility to use this privilege to give back to the world around us, and New Orleans is a wonderful place to start.