Universities hit hard by Hurricane Harvey

By Dylan Jones
Contributing Writer

Fellow Texas universities and their campuses felt the impact of Hurricane Harvey as well.
While some students may have been content with delayed classes, the affected universities were dealing with much larger problems.
Joe Miller, the Director of Community Outreach at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, said the university lost power, which included a failing backup generator.
Along with losing electricity, the campus was hit with some wind and water damage.
While the physical damage and long lasting effects may not have been terminal, the university faced complications involving students and faculty.
“Personally I have talked to one student whose parents lost their home, and I have talked to one colleague who lived in Rockport and commuted to TAMUCC who lost everything,” Miller said.
He also made note that the university instructed faculty to be flexible with students facing challenges.
Miller said universities at risk of natural disasters use a common system to prepare for such an event.
“When there is a crisis, we go into incident command mode.” Miller said.
He adds positions like “incident commander” take presidence over positions like provost and president.
TAMUCC classes were originally scheduled to begin Aug. 28, but were delayed until Sept. 5.
The university is unsure of an extended semester. That decision will be made by the Texas Higher Education Coordination Board.
Damage assessment teams went through campus to examine the impacts of the storm.
Miller said that there was more damage to housing than classrooms and that an insurance company came through and has begun working on housing.
Islander Athletics faced some hurdles as well. The girls’ soccer team had a contest in San Marcos at Texas State on Aug. 24, the day TAMUCC closed their campus.
The Islanders were sent one day early and spent time in a hotel for an extra day before, and multiple days after due to the closing of the campus.
The team also had to cancel a home game on Sept. 1, and an away game at Prairie View A&M was cancelled as well.
Despite the damage they suffered. TAMUCC sent out UAVs to the Rockport area. The unmanned aerial systems center has been going to Rockport every day for assessments of the affected region.
Having assets in the air to provide information in regards to chemical spills and damage to local officials has been a huge help for Aransas County.
Many other universities have bn affected as well. Texas State, Texas A&M, University of Houston, TAMU Kingsville, Prairie View A&M, and Houston Baptist among others, have seen delays in classes and other issues around campus.
“I essentially just spent the two days following the landfall of Hurricane Harvey holed up in my apartment,” said Texas State University student Riley Wesson. “From where I was at, it was just constant rain and heavy winds. It just kept going.”
Texas A&M Kingsville faced a similar sight.
“Classes were cancelled and mostly everyone evacuated due to the hurricane being predicted to make landfall near Corpus, only 40 miles away,” said Texas A&M Kingsville student Pablo Villanueva. He was making breakfast in his apartment the morning of the storm.
“Once it was categorized as a Category 4 hurricane, things got a little more serious. Once it made landfall in Rockport, the rain and wind were definitely at its strongest here in Kingsville.
Former UMHB student, and current Houston Baptist University student Kenzie Henderson, described the flooding of her hometown.
“The flooding in Friendswood has been absolutely terrible. No one can get in or out unless they’re evacuated by air boat or helicopter.”
Friendswood is about 30 miles from the city of Houston.
“I’ve seen a ton of people helped by the coast guard and other rescuers, but I’ve also seen civilians take their boats and rescue people that way.
University of Houston perhaps was one of the hardest hit universities.
And like most universities in the area, U of H was set to begin classes Aug. 28, but instead started Monday Sept.11.
The university is also doing a donation drive for those affected. Their website reads, “As campus life returns to normal after Hurricane Harvey, University of Houston students are finding time between classes to donate much needed supplies to fellow Cougars who are victims of the storm.”

Author: Bells SocialEditor

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