Some LSU students choosing to weather Hurricane Gustav

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana State University's Residential Life is preparing for Hurricane Gustav.

Residence Hall Assistants met with students who chose to stay on campus during Hurricane Gustav on Friday night to discuss hurricane instructions and procedures.

Most meetings lasted about 30 to 45 minutes, and students were encouraged to ask questions and voice their concerns.

Students weathering Gustav on campus were given instruction sheets provided by ResLife that offered advice for preparations before, during and after the hurricane.

Students were also given a Weather Emergency Contact Form to submit their names and other significant information that may be needed to their respective RA.

RAs advised students to pull furniture away from windows and said all electronic equipment and any floor articles such as rugs, bags and suitcases should be moved off the floor in case flooding occurs.

RAs stressed valuables be placed in a secure location and should be locked up as soon as possible.

RAs also emphasized students should supply themselves with fresh water, flashlights, food and gas to prepare for the storm.

Other precautions such as staying indoors, staying away from windows and reporting any injuries, excessive water or accidents were discussed in these meetings.

Students had mixed feelings after attending the meetings.

Jarrett Gautreau, petroleum engineering freshman, said his concerns about the storm were not eased by the meeting.

“I’m kind of nervous it might be another Katrina, but we really can’t stop Mother Nature, so I can’t worry about that too much,” he said. “[LSU] seems pretty prepared, but so did New Orleans before Katrina and look how that turned out. So it seems like a false sense of security.”

Gautreau, a Gonzales native, said he chose to stay because he expects traveling between his home in Gonzales and his residence hall room in Baton Rouge will not be difficult.

The same cannot be said for Robert Beckwigh, electrical engineering freshman.

Beckwigh, a Milton, Fla., native, stayed for a different reason.

“I stayed because I think we’re far enough inland that nothing too bad should happen,” Beckwigh said. “But more importantly because it’s a five-hour drive back home.”

Beckwigh said living in a new dorm made his decision easier.

“We'll be alright because it is a newer dorm,” he said. “So I'd like to think it’s pretty structurally sound.”

Kathy Smith, Residence Hall Association vice president, said residents staying on campus should know every residence hall -- no matter the age of the building -- should feel safe.

“Every building is structurally sound,” Smith said. “They wouldn’t have people living in them if they weren’t. Residential Life knows hurricanes happen and they make sure the buildings are OK, so they have nothing to worry about.”

Smith said the best piece of advice she can give students is “to stay calm and not panic.”

“LSU’s one of the safest places to be for this,” she said. “All the buildings are structurally sound, and there’s people here that know what they are doing.”

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