Saturday, November 3, 2012

University First Responders


I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone this week.

I talked a bunch to my mom and brother, who live in Southwestern Connecticut, just outside New York City.  My mom told me about the house across the street from our family house, now crushed under the weight of a massive hundred year oak tree that fell in the storm.  Luckily, everyone made it out. 

Mom asked me what I would do if something like this happened to my university.

“This isn’t something that gets taught in graduate programs, mom,” I told her.  “Student affairs folks just do in times like these.”

Then I told her that I have also talked to many student affairs colleagues at colleges and universities in the region affected by Hurricane Sandy.  They talked about campus evacuations; closed universities with thousands of students still in the residence halls, and trying to physically and emotionally support students without electricity.

“So, you are like university first responders,” she said. 

Exactly.

As your ACPA President, I am grateful for the countless hours that all of our university first responders have done this past week on the east coast.  I know your work is not complete, but want you to know it is valued and we are proud of you.  I am not sure that ACPA can do anything to help with this disaster, except to let you know you are doing good work.

For those of us who don’t live in the affected region, many of us have students who likely call that area home.  And when they go back to visit over Thanksgiving or the winter holidays, they will see a region that is drastically different from the one they left when they came to campus this fall.  And many of them will need support to process what they experienced when they return to campus.

On my campus, the university first responders will be ready.  I know they will on your campus.

Thank you for all you do.

Dr. Keith Humphrey
ACPA President, 2012-2013


1 comment:

Norm Pollard said...

Keith - excellent point - which is why emergency reponse should have been included in the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competency Areas
for Student Affairs Practitioners.