Jacob Lawson, News Writer • firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Ellen Hicks
In light of Hurricane Harvey, the E&H community is joining together to assist in disaster relief in Texas.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas on August 25. According to Weather.com, the damage from the flooding has become one of the worst weather disasters in American history. According to Fortune.com, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott estimated the damage from Hurricane Harvey to be between $150 billion and $180 billion.
In the Houston Metro area alone there have been thousands of water rescues (Weather.com). The range of Hurricane Harvey was far-reaching, affecting Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. According to Weather.com, Hurricane Harvey spawned tornadoes as far away as North Carolina.
On Friday, September 1, the EHC Responds Task Force sent the Emory & Henry community an email announcing how E&H can help with disaster relief in Texas. The letter read, “there will be opportunities to help assemble or sponsor Flood Buckets and Hygiene Kits” to be shipped to Texas. The letter also states that members of the Residence Life staff are reaching out to students from the affected area (or who have family there) to offer our community’s support, and to do all we can to be supportive of these folks around us.”
Additionally, there are plans for a trip to the affected area in the spring term. On the trip, students, staff and faculty will work with partners in Texas to be the most help they can be. The efforts of the EHC Responds Task Force are being coordinated through the Appalachian Center for Civic Life, the office of the Vice President for Student Life, and the Office of Residence Life.
The EHC Responds Task Force emphasizes the importance of the E&H community’s involvement. Associate Professor of Civic Innovation Tal Stanley said it was in the culture of E&H, “to give back, to be involved, and to help people.” Stanley illustrated E&H commitment to helping others in need by referencing the tornado that swept through Glade Springs in 2011. “Emory and Henry people, the facilities management team and students were the first on the ground helping at that time. So we have a long legacy, a long history of being involved and it’s just the right thing to do,” explained Stanley.
E&H’s Civic Engagement Coordinator Maggie Obermann explained that part of Emory & Henry’s mission “calls to service others and global citizenship, prompting us to lend a hand to others in need.” She also explained that EHC Responds goal is to be “a responsible responder, meaning that we want to listen to the voices on the ground and help in ways that help, not harm.”
EHC Responds has a special importance to the only student member, Orlando Martinez, who comes to E&H from Houston, Texas. He said that with the EHC Responds Task Force, they’re hoping to “assist in the relief efforts going on in Houston and its surrounding communities.” Martinez also stated, “The compassion and support that comes with a school like Emory would be very appreciated.”
In the Office of Spiritual Life, Chaplain Mary K. Briggs said, “I want to encourage others to join together in caring for all of God’s children and the Earth. I have a personal passion for mission and service work, and I want to ignite that in others.”
Vice President for Student Affairs and Student Success and Dean of Inclusion John Holloway mentions how proactive students are already being in regards to disaster relief. He said that in teaching his first transitions course that his students “want to get together and collectively donate a cleaning bucket, but also organize all of the transitions course to do it.” Holloway also said his students hope to pull together “18 buckets from all the freshmen.” There is a hope that the idea of providing cleaning buckets will expand to other courses. EHC Responds Task Force, as a group, and with individual members, are leading a charge to be proactive and responsible in providing essential services to those in need.