With a new $200,000 gift, the university will finish renovations on North and South Babington Hall that began in the summer of 2020. The gift will also establish a Living Learning Community (LLC) for the Colonels Retention of Winners Network (CROWN).
LLCs are residential communities that house students with shared academic, cultural or organizational interests. There they live with and attend events geared toward enhancing their knowledge of the subject and fostering a connection to the campus.
“It has been an incredibly challenging year for students. In this environment, safe residential spaces were essential for student’s physical and mental wellbeing as they hoped to return to campus to continue their studies,” said Myron Protz, general manager for the BHP Petroleum Gulf of Mexico Production Unit. “Throughout this year, we have all come to recognize the importance of community and connection, and we are proud to support spaces that enable a sense of community for the students at Nicholls State University.”
In July 2020, BHP gave the university $400,000 to use on the Babington buildings. Because of the donation, the University housed students in the buildings for the first time since 2015. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the buildings protected high-risk students and isolated those who contracted the virus. As the campus returns to a traditional environment, the renovated residence halls will create additional living space.
Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune keeps a picture of Mima Babington over his desk as a reminder of the buildings’ history. The first of the two buildings opened in 1963 as a women’s dorm.
“I am extremely proud that we could be back on campus during a pandemic last year. We would not have been able to do so without the help of BHP Petroleum,” Dr. Clune said. “This gift will allow us to finish our work. And when we’re done, it will connect one of the most important buildings in Nicholls’ past to the future of residential living. Thank you, BHP.”
The remaining renovation work will address the bathrooms and the common areas in both North and South Babington.
CROWN is a mentoring program for freshman, black male, non-athlete students that began in 2018 to help those students overcome the hurdles of college life. Since its inception, retention rates and grade point averages for CROWN members match or exceed their peers on campus.
“The Living Learning Community will help increase accountability and foster more success for our mentees’ first year experience, and their mentors,”said Farren Clark, CROWN coordinator. “The focus and effort these young kings have put into their time here at Nicholls through our CROWN program is inspiring. We are grateful to BHP for a physical space where we can continue to build our brotherhood that reaches beyond academic achievement into personal growth and maturity, individually and collectively.”
BHP is a leading global resources company. Their purpose is to bring people and resources together to build a better world. Their petroleum business comprises conventional oil and gas operations and includes exploration, development and production activities. Their production operations consist of conventional assets located in the US Gulf of Mexico, Australia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Their size and scope allow them to make meaningful contributions to communities, and the long-term nature of their operations means they can build collaborative community relationships.
For more information on LLCs or Babington Hall, visit nicholls.edu/housing.
For more information on CROWN, visit nicholls.edu/crown.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 8, 2021
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