Last week, the focus of many on campus and in the surrounding community was on Hurricane Florence. The Carolinas were preparing for what was expected to be the worst storm to hit in approximately three decades, and many schools in the state opted to close or evacuate.
Wake Forest, on the other hand, decided to keep a close eye on the storm, working with the National Weather Service in order to make a proper decision regarding the safety of the Wake Forest community.
While many students were upset that the university took extra time in making the decision and ultimately opted to hold classes on Thursday, the focus should not have been on whether or not classes were held, but on safety, both for the Wake Forest community and for those who needed to evacuate to Winston-Salem and other areas in the state.
The staff of the Old Gold & Black commends the seriousness with which the university administration treated the storm and is thankful for the safety of its students, faculty and staff. Much of the talk from the student body, however, emphasized not wanting class rather than on what was happening outside of the Wake Forest bubble.
In Winston-Salem, there was minimal damage, with most effects of the storm hitting on Sunday, while Hurricane Florence caused destruction to the entire coastal region.
Even though the impact on Winston-Salem was thankfully minimal, we live in an inland city where it is easy to lose sight of areas that were more severely impacted.
Indeed, the death toll from Florence has risen to 36, with 26 deaths in North Carolina alone. One victim included one-year-old Kaiden Lee-Welch, who was swept from his mother’s arms by rushing floodwaters. It is important to maintain the perspective that the storm system which caused a few days of heavy rain in Winston-Salem was downright deadly for many of our fellow North Carolinians.
As a city lucky to be spared from the worst of the damage, Winston-Salem has admirably stepped up to the plate to give our displaced neighbors a safe refuge. Winston-Salem was and still is a Red Cross Evacuation site. The LJVM Coliseum holds 1,000 people when operating as an evacuation site.
The staff of the Old Gold & Black is hopeful that our community will continue to be a resource of safety and support for those whose lives were forever changed by the storm.