In the wake of natural disasters, ETSU aims to assist and provide support for the students and faculty that are affected.
Hurricane Florence, which has impacted many parts of the Carolinas, has prompted the university to active what is called the “ETSU Response System.”
This system aims to reach out to and assist students and staff that are affected by these natural disasters, providing them with resources and contacts that can help.
Jeff Howard, associate vice president for Student Affairs, explains how the website works and what purpose it serves.
“It’s a mechanism for us to provide resources to members of the community,” Howard said. “If any of our faculty, staff or students are impacted directly or indirectly by whatever the situation is, we provide resources and try to connect them. It’s connecting members of the community with resources”
When natural disasters do occur, students that are affected may find it stressful to balance school while worrying about their families and their homes. Through the website, students have the opportunity to seek counsel, whether it be for physical, emotional or academic support.
“We talk about everything from counseling resources to who to call if you’re going to miss class,” Howard said. “It also brings the campus together to support recovery efforts, whether that’s collecting monetary donations, clothes, food or water.”
Because of the response system, some students that have been forced to evacuate due to the hurricane were given the opportunity to seek shelter on ETSU campus.
“In this most recent situation with hurricane Florence, housing and resident life opened up some of their housing facilities,” Howard said. “We had some students from Queens University who were evacuated and came to stay in one of our residence halls until they were ok to go back to their university.”
Along with activating the site, students potentially impacted by the disaster occurring are also contacted directly.
“When we activated the response page, we also sent an email directly to all of our students who had home addresses in North Carolina and South Carolina,” Howard said. “We told them we had activated the site and that it provides some resources. We also said how to reach us if you are impacted directly and need our assistance.”
Although the website aims to offer immediate help during or after a natural disaster, the system, as a whole, looks at the big picture as well. This could mean making efforts to respond well after the initial disaster occurs.
“It takes months and even years to respond in some of these situations,” Howard said. “The website is an immediate response alerting people to what’s happening. However, our involvement might be more long term. It’s not just an immediate response.”
Howard wants students to know that this website is a great way to be apart of helping those in the community that are affected by natural disasters, such as hurricane Florence.
“The best way to get involved is to visit the website and see what the needs are right now,” he said. “It has served us very well.”
To learn more about this website or get involved with recovery efforts, visit https://www.etsu.edu/response/.