Penn State ready to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina

August 31, 2005

University Park, Pa. -- Although a thousand miles away from the heart of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, members of the large international Penn State family are very much involved.

University officials have identified more than 60 students known to have hometowns in the most affected states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The majority of those students are enrolled at the University Park campus, with some studying at Penn State Harrisburg or in the College of Medicine at Penn State's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Staff in Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and in Student Affairs at University Park have been offering their services to students from the areas hurt most by the disaster and to other students who seek help. Students needing assistance can contact CAPS at (814) 863-0395.

Faculty and staff impacted by the disaster are reminded they can turn to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for counseling. They can be contacted toll free at (866) 749-1735. The EAP Web site is

Penn State also stands ready to attend to the financial fallout of this disaster by facilitating emergency aid and loans for students who have had homes wrecked in the disaster or family members lose jobs.

"We want these students to be able to continue their education without interruption due to this unforeseen hardship," said Graham Spanier, president of Penn State. "Penn State students from the impacted states who face financial hardships are encouraged to contact the Office of Financial Aid at (814) 863-0507."

In addition, Penn State is opening its doors to students who were enrolled this fall at colleges and universities that are now closed indefinitely due to flooding or long-term utilities shutdowns on the Gulf Coast. The University is prepared to quickly welcome them to appropriate Penn State campus locations so that these students do not fall behind in their studies this semester.

"We have been contacted by a number of students during the past two days who had been accepted at Penn State but instead choose to go to schools in the disaster area, such as Tulane," Spanier said. "We are letting those students know that we have room at some of our 24 locations to help them continue their education until such time as they can resume their studies at their home institutions."

"It is vital that great schools such as Tulane are given the support they need to re-open their doors," Spanier said.

Beyond students, the University's vast alumni base includes nearly 2,000 who are residents of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

For admissions information, call (814) 865-5471.

To receive disaster-related fact sheets and publications, residents can contact the Penn State Cooperative Extension office in their county. Look under "County Government" in the phone book or visit the Web at for a list of county phone numbers and addresses.


To contribute to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, please contact the organizations listed below:

American Red Cross:
(800) 435-7669 or (800) HELP-NOW.

America's Second Harvest: for hunger relief.
(800) 344-8070.

Catholic Charities:
(800) 919-9338.

Church World Services:
(800) 297-1516.

New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity:

Network for Good: provides easy access for donations to a number of charities including the Humane Society of America (for pets,) and various chapters of the United Way in Florida and Louisiana.

Salvation Army:

Feed the Children:
(800) 525-7575.

Operation Blessing: for hunger relief.
(800) 730-2537.

United Methodist Committee on Relief:
(800) 554-8583.

Noah's Wish: offers rescue and shelter for animals during disasters. Send checks to Noah's Wish, P.O. Box 997, Placerville, Calif. 95667, (530) 622-9313.

Convoy of Hope:
General disaster relief. (417) 823-8998.

Samaritan's Purse:
General disaster relief. (800) 567-8183.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009