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Louisiana Needs Your Help

Dr. Joseph Savoie -- Mon, 03/30/2020 - 12:17pm

Dear students, faculty and staff members,

When the semester began in January, none of us could have anticipated the unprecedented nature of what lay ahead. Yet our University family has reacted to this extraordinary moment in characteristic fashion – with the same ingenuity, courage, optimism and compassion it has displayed time and again when challenges have arisen.

Over the past several weeks, I have been inspired by the countless acts of generosity our students, faculty and staff have undertaken.

A music major livestreamed his performance so strangers might find solace in his melodies.

A history graduate student is meeting the needs of today by sewing facemasks for health care workers.

Nursing professors are screening the public for COVID-19. Education professors are planning lessons for children whose schools are closed. Our engineering researchers are working on disinfection methods to ensure protective gear for health workers is safe to be worn more than once.

These are but a few examples, but there are many more. Each of these special people has applied their individual skills to make a difference for the wellbeing of us all.

You can do the same.

Gov. John Bel Edwards and leaders of the University of Louisiana and Louisiana State University systems are sounding a call for volunteers from colleges and universities to help overcome the challenges this dangerous virus has posed to our communities. This includes students, faculty and staff members alike – anyone who is willing to help.

As you know, the numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to climb and Louisiana’s health care system is under immense strain.

Those in health care fields can volunteer and help alleviate this burden. Individuals with backgrounds in nursing, allied health professions, counseling, mental and behavioral health and pre-medicine can sign up.

If you do not have health care training, you can help by prioritizing phone calls coming into United Way and 211, or by coordinating volunteers, offering technological and logistical support, or meeting critical needs other organizations have.

Please visit for more information.

This website was created in five days by staff at UL Lafayette’s Informatics Research Institute, led by Dr. Henry Chu, Micah LaCombe, Cary Rivet and Michael Murray. This team worked with Dr. Ramesh Kolluru, the University’s vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, and Dr. Rebekah Gee from LSU in partnership with the Governor’s Office, the Louisiana Department of Health, the Lieutenant Governor’s Volunteer Louisiana initiative and the United Way to help mobilize student volunteers.

If you are able, I encourage you to join others from across the state who have already signed up. 

Louisiana has experienced moments of uncertainty before, and we have always emerged stronger because of the selflessness of the people who are proud to call the state home.

With your help, we can do so again. Please consider volunteering.


Dr. Joseph Savoie