Students, faculty and alumni of the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University met at the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana in New Orleans a day before the national championship to give back to the community that hosted the fans of both teams.
The mixed group of fans worked together to paint classrooms and desks and revamp their baseball field. Several freshmen on LSU’s football team also joined the event and worked together to build a miniature football field on site.
“LSU has been the best partner that we could have asked for, because this is obviously more their domain than ours,” said Chandler Wright, the UA SGA senator who organized the event. “They hooked us up with the Boys and Girls Club and did a lot of the leg work for us, which was super awesome.”
When the Tide played Texas for the title two years ago, SGA leaders from both schools came together for a service project.
“We kind of piggybacked off of that idea, but we wanted it to be something that the community could come out to and we could really involve the student body,” Wright said.
Dozens of volunteers, donning the colors of both teams, worked for hours, both inside and outside the club. They also took time to make fleece blankets, which the group sent back with the UA SGA to distribute to tornado victims.
“I’ve been very pleased with the turnout,” Wright said. “You never know in New Orleans who’s going to come out in the morning. I’ve been really pleased with both the Alabama and LSU fans that have come out to support the community.”
Ryan Flamerich, Speaker of the SGA Senate, said it is still important to help New Orleans more than six years after Hurricane Katrina.
“This is basically a partnership between the University of Alabama and LSU,” Flamerich said. “Basically, what we have is members of the University of Alabama, alumni, faculty and students out here trying to rejuvenate a community center that was affected by Hurricane Katrina. The idea is the center will become a center where students who live around here have a safe place to come, be mentored through other programs and just play. So far, it’s been a great turnout.”
Both SGA and University leaders considered the event a success.
“It really is remarkable to see students from two different schools, rival schools, come together and put aside their differences for what we have in common and use their good work for the community here where we’ve all come together for this event,” Vice President of Student Affairs and Vice Provost Mark Nelson said.