Students from Florida are reacting to Hurricane Irma’s damage in their home state by coming together and relying on the campus community for moral support.
Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys on Sunday and was downgraded to a tropical storm Monday as it moved into Georgia.
Many Floridian students have family living in Irma’s path. Billy Speed, music theater senior, has immediate family living on Florida’s east coast.
“I am always worried about any hurricane that has Florida or any part of the United States in its path, no matter what its size or category,” he said. “Harvey, for me, is a warning for what a storm can do to cities not even on the coast.”
Speed said he is most worried about how reconstruction in Florida will burden those efforts already taking place in Houston, which was hit Aug. 25 by Hurricane Harvey.
“What worries me is the massive strain to relief and recovery efforts that Irma will cause, one that will burden efforts in Texas,” Speed said.
Ben Hild, vocal performance junior, said his family, though in a less affected region, had to make significant changes to their house to protect it.
“They have all had to board up windows and get everything out of their yards,” he said. “I will continue to have faith that everyone back home is doing what needs to be done to be best sheltered and unharmed.”
Amanda Kronhaus, acting junior, has many friends and family members in Florida.
Kronhaus, who is 2017 Florida Cinderella Woman, worries for her sister queens in Miami and along the coast.
“I am from the Orlando area, so that is where most of my family is. Overall, I am just praying for my state,” Kronhaus said.
Kronhaus said she is concerned, especially after seeing photos from Hurricane Harvey.
“I ask the campus community to rally behind us Floridians like we did with the Houstonians. I know there are less of us, but we will need your prayers and any help you can provide,” Kronhaus said.
Religious Life is still taking donations through September to benefit victims. The Rev. Dr. Charles Neff said donations collected will go to the victims of both storms. Students and faculty can donate baby food, diapers, toiletries, pet supplies, and other materials by placing them in blue bins, which can be found in various campus buildings.