September 14, 2005
Thousands of lives were uprooted by Hurricane
Katrina on the nations Gulf Coast, including over 350
students of Tulane Universitys School of Architecture.
After Tulane officially cancelled the fall semester, these
students began a scramble to re-enroll elsewhere.
For Reed Kroloff, dean of Tulane School of Architecture,
the first challenge was finding them; with the student and
faculty records lists down, he and associate dean Ila Berman
used email, the web, and telephones to track down students.
Kroloffs thoughts turned to trying to keep the fifth-year
students together for the first semester of their last year.
In what is likely the largest block of students relocated
to a single institution, more than 30 fifth-years are enrolling
at Arizona State University, where five Tulane faculty members
ASU Dean Wellington Duke Reiter earned his own
bachelors degree at Tulane, while Kroloff has long had
a close relationship with ASU. Local architecture and construction
firms are donating time and materials to get studio space
ready in a hurry. Kroloff is enthusiastic about this Tulane-in-exile
experiment in cross-pollination. This presents an opportunity
for true pedagogical innovation, he says. We have
been planning curricular changes and this will ramp up that
transformationwe are looking at how to recast architecture
as a significant force in public service and leadership.
Schools throughout the country have offered to host displaced
students from Tulane and other New Orleans-area universities.
Students are enrolled as visiting students rather than as
transfers, and will pay tuition to their home institutions,
where they are expected to return in the spring.
Nearby architecture schools absorbed some of the Tulane students;
several undergraduates have registered at Mississippi State
University and Louisiana State University. Kroloff praised
the incredible efforts of Don Gatsky, dean of
the University of Texas-Arlington, and Ellen Dunham-Jones
and Tom Galloway at Georgia Tech, as well as others, for stepping
up with generous offers. Students have found their way to
these schools, as well as Cornell, Pratt, Columbia, Syracuse,
Cooper Union, the University of Pennsylvania, the University
of Southern California, Sci-Arc, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo,
and many more.
Holly Latter is one of several enrolled at Parsons School
of Design in New York, where she has friends and can stay
close to family in Maryland. She knows Tulane wants her back
for the spring semester, but she is skeptical about the shuffle
in her last year, and about whether Tulane will be operational.
More immediately, a single-semester stint presents a housing
challenge, especially in New York City. But amidst uncertainty,
shes digging into coursework. My studio site is
in Brooklyn. Im heading there now to explore,
Adam Porter, a fourth-year student from Warrenton, Virginia,
started classes at the University of Virginia without his
supplies and computer, the condition of which he is uncertain.
But he is certain that he will return to Tulane. I'll
definitely be back in the spring, he says. There
are going to be a lot of opportunities for our trade in the
coming years in New Orleans.