The Tulane Hullabaloo

Resisting the Storm: Puerto Rican Freshman Pura Arroyo Morales

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Freshman Pura Arroyo Morales gives insight on Hurricane Maria and her transition to Tulane

Freshman Pura Arroyo Morales gives insight on Hurricane Maria and her transition to Tulane

Cam Lutz | Senior Staff Photographer

Cam Lutz | Senior Staff Photographer

Freshman Pura Arroyo Morales gives insight on Hurricane Maria and her transition to Tulane

Cam Lutz, Senior Staff Reporter

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The start of the spring semester brought 15 new students from Puerto Rico to Tulane. The Hullabaloo thought they deserved a formal introduction in our newest feature Resisting the Storm.

A few weeks after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island of Puerto Rico, Tulane announced its plan to admit Puerto Rican students to Tulane for the Spring 2018 semester free of tuition. Now, less than three weeks into the semester, the 15 new students are adjusting to a new city, a different language and an entirely new university.

Pura Arroyo Morales, a freshman living in Wall Residential College, agreed to share her perspective on the hurricane and Tulane’s offer of admission. She is a pre-med student at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. As her classes at Tulane begin, she is still finishing her finals from her home university. Pura’s hometown of Cabo Rojo, located in the southwestern corner of the island near the coast, was greatly affected by the storm.

Can you describe what happened when the hurricane hit your community?

My community was in [such] bad conditions. The hurricane hit us [for] almost 24 hours. And when we go out of our house, the trees were, like, all in the floor and we couldn’t have, like, path to the streets. We had to cut the trees with [saws]. And all the men in the community helped so we can go out and go to the city and help others. And we didn’t have power or water for, like, 60 days in our home. It was horrible, but we survived.

How has your community recovered?

My community is still recovering, but we receive all the help and everything, and we keep going. But I don’t know. It’s difficult. Back home, the people have been losing their jobs because our economy is, like, devastated because of the hurricane. But we’re surviving, and I don’t know how to answer that question.

How did the hurricane affect your university?

Okay, we didn’t have classes, like, in two months. But we make, like, movements, and the students go to clean the university so we can go and get our classes. So we started classes like two months after the hurricane, as soon as we got the power and water back in the university. But we’re still finishing our semester. The last day of classes, I think that is Feb. 3, with the finals and everything.

What made you decide to go to Tulane?

… They are paying everything for us and it’s, like, a big opportunity, and we are so grateful about it. I don’t have words to describe how we feel about what Tulane is doing.

How has your transition to Tulane been?

It has been good, I think. I’m almost, like, settled down now, but at first I was, like, missing home and my mother and my family and everything. But now I’m, like, I think I’m good now. It has been two weeks, so I’m good.

Have you been to New Orleans before?

No.

How do you like New Orleans?

I love it. It’s a party city. I consider myself a happy person, and I like the people in New Orleans because they are happy also, and, like, they love to party and everything.

Have students and other community members been welcoming and friendly?

Yes, they have been so welcoming. We went to the dean’s house last Friday, and they were so kind to us. Everyone has been so kind to us — the students, the professors, the administration, everyone.

What are you most excited about this semester?

I’m excited about the change and about the new opportunities that we can, like, get in this experience. And everything about Mardi Gras and about meeting new people and have all the classes, everything.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Maybe to give the university a big thanks for this opportunity.

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Resisting the Storm: Puerto Rican Freshman Pura Arroyo Morales