What do we love about UNCW? Well, our undefeated football team and the beach of course! The only problem with going to a school on the coast are the natural disasters that come with it. In my four years here we have experienced tropical storms, hurricanes, and a tornado. These disasters can not only destroy the campus, but also the brand of universities and businesses.
When a hurricane is headed UNCW’s way they have to take into account all their audiences: students, faculty and staff, and parents. In terms of students, lets be honest, we only care about one thing…are classes canceled?
Whereas the faculty and staff are concerned about their schedules. If a disaster comes and classes are canceled, then they have to redo their course plan. They also have to prepare for the flood of emails they are about to receive regarding the schedule.
Then there are the parents. They can be the worst audience of them all, but they do this out of love. They are concerned for their children, so when they see a natural disaster headed towards Wilmington they worry. Mother nature will not mess with their child and if classes stand in the way they won’t have it. They want their kids home safe.
Now last year UNCW’s brand received criticism after Hurricane Matthew. Why? They had a mandatory evacuation of the campus and then the storm affected other areas of North Caroline worse. What made most people even more upset was the fact that they were unsure of canceling class even though most students couldn’t make it back to campus. Parent and students were very upset. Comments, like the one below, flooded UNCW’s social media.
“You should never have waffled so much on whether the campus was going to be open or closed. You put my daughter in a dangerous situation because she planned to evacuate, so she started to come home, then you changed your mind, and she went back, afraid to miss something or get in trouble, then closed again, sending her back home in worse weather the second time. Next time, close the school and COMMIT to it. Stop jerking the students around. It endangers their safety”
It is difficult for universities to handle natural disasters, because we truly never know what mother nature is going to do. We pay for an education, so they don’t want to cancel class, but they also need to make sure everyone is safe. There is always room for improvement and UNCW is currently improving their natural disaster response by doing the Zephyr exercise. With that being said, lets pray we never have to us it.