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Does FGCU Prepare Students for Hurricane Season?

The+sunset+over+the+South+Village+dorms.
Addyson McCullough
The sunset over the South Village dorms.

As the 2023 hurricane season progresses, FGCU continues to respond quickly and effectively. 

On June 1, the beginning of hurricane season, FGCU sent out an email titled “2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season,” informing students and faculty of the progression of an area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico. FGCU was monitoring the storm and providing tips for necessary supplies and emergency planning. 

If FGCU responds just as well this hurricane season as it did the past, we are in good hands. Here are some of the measures FGCU took during Hurricane Ian to ensure that students, faculty and staff were informed and remained safe before, during, and after the storm:

 

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Free Emergency Shelter Training for Volunteers

Sept. 6, 2022, Bev Brown, the director of operations for the president’s office, sent out an email informing students, faculty and staff of an opportunity to learn more about the components of shelter management. The event was held at the Alico Arena Hospitality Suite on Sept. 8 from 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. It was intended to prepare its attendants to be effective volunteers in emergency shelters in the case of a severe hurricane.

 

Consistent Updates on the Storm’s Progression, Magnitude and Potential Landing Time 

FGCU sent out storm updates daily. FGCU officials monitored Hurricane Ian

alongside local, state and national officials.

 

FGCU Rave Alerts

FGCU sent out consistent updates on potential changes in business hours, academics, housing, dining and events. Class cancellations and makeup days were posted ahead of time for student preparation.

 

Warnings, Safety Tips and Communication

Employees and students were encouraged to prepare their homes ahead of time with storm shutters, food supplies and toiletries. FGCU also provided an email address and phone number where students and faculty could ask storm-related questions and voice any concerns. There was also an emergency shelter for residential students and staff.

 

Location Information for Food and Water

FGCU sent the addresses for the closest Points of Distribution (PODs) for food and water. These included the Old Bonita Library, Cape Coral Sports Complex and Veterans Park Recreation Center.

 

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Resources 

The effects of the hurricane were grave on many students’ physical, mental and emotional health. CAPS is available throughout the school year, but FGCU took extra steps to remind students to take advantage of their services during and after Hurricane Ian. Additionally, former FGCU President Mike Martin sent out an email detailing options for students whose academics were heavily affected by the storm. The options included changing grades to pass/fail or satisfactory/unsatisfactory.

Despite the effort, students had a couple complaints. One of the most common complaints referred to the hurricane relief checks. While they were a great help to some students, others felt the sum of these actions wasn’t enough compared to the damage they experienced.

Grace Riddle, a senior at FGCU, did not remain on campus during the hurricane, but she kept in touch with some friends who did.

“I remember a lot of my friends got checks after the hurricane for relief, but it was only like

$500,” Riddle said.

Another complaint was the last minute class cancellations and evacuation updates.

“I remember FGCU sending out emails three or four days prior [to the storm] talking about the path of the hurricane, but I don’t think they canceled classes until two or three days prior. It didn’t  feel like enough time for people who wanted to leave,” Riddle said.

Kaylin Trufant, a junior at FGCU, had trouble with late evacuation updates, too.

“I remember going to [my] classes that Monday and constantly waiting for info to be emailed to us about whether or not we had to evacuate,” Trufant said.

Overall, when it comes to storm preparation, while there is always more that can be done, it is

good to recognize and appreciate what has been done. FGCU continually proves its ability to

effectively prioritize students’ well-being in and out of the classroom, and I am confident that this year will be no different.

 

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About the Contributors
Cristina Pop, Eagle News Assistant Opinion Editor
Cristina Pop is majoring in journalism. She is a new addition to our team of editors, which has been her dream since she started grading papers with her English teacher in 7th grade and writing for her personal Christian blog. Aside from writing, Cristina enjoys volleyball and sunset swimming at the beach.
Addyson McCullough, Eagle News Assignment & Features Editor
Addyson McCullough has had a love for writing since she could hold a pencil. In her high school English classes, she had to write a mock article and fell in love with the style of writing. She is currently a sophomore majoring in journalism. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her roommates and her hedgehog, Hamlet!

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