THIBODAUX – As students and parents converge in Thibodaux for another fall semester at Nicholls State University, administrators are encouraging the public to revisit the Economic and Community Impact Study, commissioned by the University of Louisiana System and released earlier this year.
“It is important for everyone, especially newcomers, to understand that Nicholls has an immensely positive effect on the greater Bayou Region,” Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president, said. “At present, this institution sponsors approximately 30 research and service activities, including two economic development initiatives, two engineering and technology programs, three cultural development programs, seven environmental and life science projects and 16 education, health and human services activities.”
“By any standard, such numbers testify to the university’s commitment to the public good,” Hulbert added. “I encourage everyone to learn more about these programs by reading the impact study, available online at www.nicholls.edu.”
The Nicholls-sponsored programs highlighted in the study’s “Research and Service” section include the South Louisiana Economic Council, Department of Biological Sciences, Child Welfare Family Service Center and Jubilee Jambalaya Writers’ Conference.
South Louisiana Economic Council
Housed on the Nicholls campus, SLEC is one of only eight regional economic development organizations recognized by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development. The Council offers tailored services to industries throughout the parishes of Assumption, Lafourche, St. Mary and Terrebonne – including industrial recruitment, business retention and expansion, new business development, workforce development and international relations. Future growth predictions for the four-parish area include coastal restoration; tourism and coastal recreation; marine technology; and the continued development of the culinary industry.
Department of Biological Sciences
Faculty members have initiated a $2.4 million shoreline erosion control demonstration project in northern Terrebonne Bay, in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Funded by the federal Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act Authority, the project has been constructed and is presently stimulating the colonization of oysters and eventual development of reef habitat on manmade structures. Oyster reef development will eventually permanently take over the role of shoreline protection as a living resource that can adjust as the coastal environment changes and the manmade structures deteriorate. In addition to stopping erosion, this project promotes tourism and sustained recreational and commercial fishery harvests.
The Child Welfare Family Service Center
Providing a wide array of services for “at-risk” families, the center focuses on improving environments for children – thus increasing the safety, permanency and well-being of families. Services are available to children from the parishes of Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Mary and Terrebonne. Directed by the Nicholls Family Service Center, the program handles cases referred by the Office of Community Services and Families in Need of Services.
Jubilee Jambalaya Writers’ Conference
A daylong event sponsored by the university, Friends of Terrebonne Parish Public Library and various area businesses, the annual conference generally attracts more than 200 attendees. Nicholls students and writers from across the state gather to hear speakers read excerpts and participate in panel discussions about their writings. With editors and agents participating, aspiring authors attend presentations and receive one-on-one critiques. They may participate in a fiction contest as well – the winner of which receives an appointment with a New York-based publisher.
“Of course, this is only a sample of the full range of research and service programs sponsored by Nicholls,” Hulbert said. “I encourage everyone to read the impact study to learn more. Clearly, Nicholls adds much to the economic and social prosperity of the Bayou Region.”