As I type this, I am sitting neither in my office on the main campus of Sacred Heart University, nor am I home. Both of those locations- which have served as the place where I have typed dozens of blog entries since 2008 for SHU- are without power and internet access. I'd like to complain, as I am frustrated beyond belief, but there millions all throughout the East Coast without power. So what can I do?
Every year in August, we are told to be prepared for hurricane season, and how this one could be "the big one". And every year I shrug it off, thinking it's the media playing off of people's fear and paranoia. And while Hurricane Irene didn't pack quite the punch that everyone had predicted, it was destructive enough to make things very inconvenient. Some people were forced to evacuate the area, while others chose to stay behind to ride-out the storm (like the deer featured in the picture above).
Today was to have been the start of the AHEAD 1 session for our part-time undergraduate adult students. Two classes were to start tonight on our Stamford campus, as well as several online offerings. All of those classes- and our ESL courses in Stamford- are canceled as all campuses are closed, and the SHU email/Blackboard server is down.
No doubt, this is frustrating for students who were eager to begin their studies, but sometimes life (and Mother Nature) gets in the way. That said, for those students who purchased their textbooks for those AHEAD 1 courses, why not open them and start to flip through the pages? If nothing else, it will help you start to learn more about the courses and be prepared for an accelerated session. If you're without power, however, you may want to this at some point this afternoon. Of course, you may have other things to do besides getting a head start on your studies...There are branches to be picked up, leaves to be raked, and lawn furniture to be put back outside. But in the event you're looking for a bit of a distraction, take a look at one of your textbooks for RS 101/Intro to Study or Religion or whichever course(s) for which you may be registered.
While the campus may be "closed" at the present time, there is no doubt that much is happening on campus in terms of preparations for the start of the Fall 2011 semester. In fact, as the storm was beginning to intensify on Saturday night and I was making my way home from a delicious dinner in Downtown Bridgeport, I was delighted to read a great article that was sent to my Blackberry via Twitter. In keeping with the mission of the school and the whole idea of helping the neighbors and giving back to the community, Sacred Heart University made the decision to open their doors to house Freshman from a nearby university that had been evacuated. These students- many of whom had just moved into their dormitories that morning and are away from home for the very first time- were bussed to campus and housed during the storm in SHU's spacious Pitt Center. To read an interesting article on this, refer to this link:
So while Irene caused widespread damage all throughout the area (and beyond), it's always good to hear of people helping one another out during times of trouble. As students wait patiently for the semester to begin (and- if you're like me- for your power to come back on), they can take solace in the fact that the storm has come and gone, the weather is bright and refreshing, and it's time to start the semester off on the right foot.