Moved by the catastrophe left in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, the anguish of survivors and severe damage to one of the University’s campuses, President of University of The Bahamas (UB) Dr. Rodney D. Smith and his wife Dr. Christina Smith have pledged $25,000 as an initial personal gift to the restoration of University of The Bahamas-North in East Grand Bahama.
President Smith also issued a challenge to other potential donors to match their gift to the UB Hurricane Relief Fund as the University fully intends to restore its operations in Grand Bahama. More than 500 students, faculty and staff have been displaced now that the campus’ infrastructure is compromised. The category 5 storm gutted the ground floor of the administrative block, ripped off windows, decimated infrastructure and left the Hawksbill Hall residence in shambles.
“Raging floodwaters and winds devastated our UB-North campus. Our newest building, Hawksbill Hall residences, has been gutted. All of our computer systems and infrastructure have been compromised,” said Dr. Smith said in a video appeal. “Our faculty, staff and students have lost loved ones, their homes and their sense of stability.”
The University announced that it has relocated staff and faculty to its downtown centre at the Teachers’ Credit Union building on West Atlantic Drive, while classes are scheduled to resume on Grand Bahama on Monday, 30th September. Vice President of UB-North Dr. Ian Strachan noted that talks are currently underway with officials at various schools in Freeport to identify alternative locations for the resumption of classes.
“Our team at UB-North publicly pledges our commitment to stand shoulder to shoulder with members of the communities we serve, to rebuild. We wish to clarify that any information circulating on social media suggesting that the Fall 2019 semester at UB North is cancelled, is totally false,” noted Dr. Strachan. “The administration, faculty, and staff have met, and we are determined to make access to classes possible for as many students as are able to continue. We know how important this news is, especially for our graduating Seniors completing in May. We will deliver and not let you down!”
Hurricane Dorian blazed a path of destruction in Grand Bahama and Abaco, islands over which the eye passed, and brought punishing winds, rain and sea surges. The killer storm also stalled over Grand Bahama. UB has devoted a webpage on its www.ub.edu.bs website for hurricane relief contributions.
Donors can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, the address of the Vice President of Institutional Advancement Mr. Dino Hernandez, if they wish to give to the UB Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund.
The UB community is also mobilizing resources and manpower to help bring relief to colleagues and students as well as other citizens from the affected islands. At the University’s Oakes Field Campus, collection sites were being established for hurricane relief items at the Portia M. Smith, Keva M. Bethel, and Chapter One Bookstore, and at the Grosvenor Close Centre on Shirley Street. More than 160 volunteer students, faculty and staff have registered to begin assisting at hurricane relief storage and distribution centres like New Providence Community Church and the Bahamas Red Cross. Led by the Student Government Association, students have also launched relief fundraisers to meet the needs of their compatriots.