Weathering Hurricane Isaac

The start of each academic year always seems more hectic than the last. This year in particular felt overwhelming as a new professional trying to figure out a different campus culture and learn my job. After talking to folks from my cohort, I realize I am not alone in my transition.  Facebook also keeps me in the loop about colleagues’ experiences across the United States and even the world.

Let me introduce you to my friend David Hibbler.

One night I was on Facebook after a busy day and saw a status update from David that caught my eye. He was creating an emergency hurricane kit! Prepping for move-in is always challenging. I can’t even imagine prepping a building and preparing for a hurricane.

Here is a reflection from David about his experience:

The decision to take a job across the country is never easy and although I've spent my adulthood living all around the country, I still felt some apprehension about moving to Florida. And that apprehension only increased when I learned the National Weather Service was predicting a hurricane would arrive in my area around the same time most of my students would move to campus.

Like any good student affairs professional, I did everything I could to prepare for the worst. I went to the store and purchased supplies for a hurricane kit; I reviewed the universities emergency procedures with my staff; I explained what was happening to my residents during their first hall meetings. Most importantly, I relied on the rest of my staff, especially those who are veteran Floridians, for advice and guidance.

Any welcome week comes with lots of emotions, but preparing to welcome students to campus while there's a major political convention in town and a hurricane looming near can be extremely overwhelming and exhausting. However, I feel that getting through both the literal and figurative storms helped my staff bond and gave me a renewed sense of confidence. If I can handle Isaac, I can handle anything.

David Hibbler Jr. is a Residence Life Coordinator at the University of South Florida. He graduated from Colorado State University’s Student Affairs in Higher Education Program in May 2012 and is a proud alum of Butler University.

David, thanks so much for sharing. Student affairs professionals and administrators affected by Hurricane Isaac, my thoughts are with you. I know you were on the front lines supporting students at such a difficult time.

My thoughts are with all the folks affected by Hurricane Isaac and those still recovering.

Stefanie Lucas-Waverly

Student Affairs - the First Years

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