Our Take: On weathering the hurricane
Last Thursday, Hurricane Isabel ravaged parts of the East coast, including Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Downtown, the Jefferson Memorial was flooded up to the steps and parts of Alexandria were evacuated; down here, Tenley Campus lost power and Park Bethesda is still without power.
Although the damages from the hurricane to AU's main campus weren't that extensive, student-caused damage to the campus was another story. Turning the quad into a mudpit is estimated to cost thousands of dollars. Most of the damages appear to have come from student activities on the Quad, including mud races, mud wrestling and mud football.
While we are reluctant to assign specific responsibility to those who caused the damages, it would be nice if in the future, students were more considerate about potential damages. The University is holding two events over the next month (Homecoming and Parents' Weekend) that requires the Quad to not look like a pigpen.
Beyond the Quad, the mess created in residence halls and the Mary Graydon Center were intolerable. Unlike the Quad, the residence halls and MGC are integral parts of our communal living space. The fact that dirt is caked all over the floor, elevators, stairs and living spaces show that some people don't have enough consideration for their neighbors.
While a new student may not understand (or even think of) the cost in damages to a game of football in the mud, they are ultimately responsible for the consequences of their actions.
The response of the administration was much more positive. Julie Weber, executive director of Housing and Dining programs, wrote in an open letter to residents, "Bon Appetit has stockpiled paper products, water, and non-perishable food items in case of a significant power outage."
Indeed, the resilience of both Aramark and the TDR staff is commendable, especially when considering that they faced the same terrible conditions that other workers, commuters and residents faced. While thousands stayed at home in the dark, our workers came to help keep the University running. The federal government closed down for two days and students could still count on receiving their food and cleaning services. On a different note, although Friday night karaoke night was sparsely attended, the quickly thought idea was nonetheless a good one to combat the previous night's damages to the Quad.
All in all, we feel like student response to the damage to the Quad was lacking. Essentially, it's a matter of responsibility. Because students weren't stopped from (unintentionally) causing damages to the Quad, thousands of dollars in damages are now needed to fix it.
If more people took a page from the books of Aramark and the TDR workers, AU may have been able to better weather the storm.