Hurricane Florence wreaked havoc in North Carolina and across the South, and compared to the damage people suffered elsewhere we got off easily at Saint Augustine’s University. The impact on nearby places like Rocky Mount and Fayetteville ranged from power outages and flooding to damaged houses and cars, and the families of some students were impacted.
Here at Saint Augustine’s, the biggest problem was the loss of power. But it could have been a lot worse, and the SAU administration should be commended for the way they handled matters.
By the time the hurricane hit the Outer Banks it was a Category 2, but before it hit land it was a Category 4 so the university definitely had to take precautions. When the storm was still far off, President Everett B. Ward took action by having a campus-wide assembly to make sure we knew about the storm and to inform us that the dorms would be evacuated.
Some students were fortunate enough to have family in the area or lived close enough to be able to go back to their homes, but most were not as fortunate. Luckily, the individuals who were not able to leave were able to take shelter in our gymnasium.
It was not the most pleasant situation because students had to sleep on mattresses and were cooped up in the gym. But university officials provided food, water and even entertainment. And most of all, they kept us safe.
Student Government Association President Alston Devega believes we were lucky and I believe he spoke for a lot of people. “Unfortunately, the hurricane was devastating to not only to NC but to other states as well,” Devega said. “God really blessed Raleigh itself because all we received was rain and wind. Best wishes and blessings to all the individuals who were caught up in this storm.”
Considering all that happened in the storm, I can say that it actually had a positive effect on Saint Augustine’s University. Hopefully, it made us realize we are blessed.
— Ellis J.L. Hill