On Hurricanes Harvey and Irma: A Message from the Dean

Dean Grover “Cleve” Gilmore, PhD sent this message to all Mandel School students, alumni, faculty, and staff on September 8, 2017:

We at the Mandel School have followed with sorrow the news of lives lost and unimaginable damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Our thoughts have been with our students, alumni, families, friends, and colleagues as they faced the storm’s rage and its aftermath.

Another unprecedented storm is now bearing down on Florida. We are deeply concerned for our students, alumni, friends, families, and colleagues who are in the path of Hurricane Irma. We are also keeping them in our thoughts, and we are keeping the Mandel School at the ready – always here as a community to provide support in the days and weeks ahead as they cope, recover, and overcome.

When I reached out to our Master’s students who are living in Florida, I received inspiring responses of resilience (for several, this is not their first life-threatening storm) and resolve (many are helping others as they take actions to protect themselves, their families, and their clients).

I also wanted to let you know some ways we can help:

  • Online MSSA student Alexis Davis has started a Facebook group with live updates to help her fellow Central Floridians stay connected and get desperately-needed supplies. She reports that many agencies like hers have closed and supplies are running very low. She advises: “The best way for (others) to help is to donate funds to our official disaster fund, Florida Disaster Fund, which the governor just activated. This provides funding for agencies participating in disaster recovery after the storm. Supplies or other items, as we saw with Harvey, only burden volunteers and organizations. For more information: https://www.volunteerflorida.org/govscott-floridadisasterfund-irma/.”
  • I heard from Dean Alan Dettlaff at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, who shared this message: “[During Hurricane Harvey,] some of our [social work] students lost items such as textbooks and laptops that need to be replaced, while others lost cars and homes, and are in need of temporary arrangements for transportation and shelter. Many of you have asked if there are ways for you and your schools to help our students. To facilitate this, our university has established a centralized giving site for those wishing to make a contribution to assist in our students’ recovery efforts.  If you’d like to contribute to this: UH Cougar Emergency Fund.  You can designate your contribution for our social work students by adding “Hurricane Harvey Relief for GCSW Students” once you click through the first page of the giving site. Our students will be able to access these funds for any non-tuition related need resulting from Hurricane Harvey.
  • NASW Texas provides several options to assist with Hurricane Harvey relief.
  • NASW Florida provides options to assist with Hurricane Irma relief.
  • NPR reported on several large and small nonprofits that also provide assistance.

Thank you.