Our View: When tragedy feels far away

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Hurricane Harvey’s devastating hit to southeast Texas has caused severe flooding, resulting in damages, a current death toll of 14, and thousands of displaced Texans seeking shelter. Hurricane Harvey has been registered as a category four hurricane and has been compared to Hurricane Katrina. The rains are not expected to subside for several more days, which will ultimately accumulate to over four feet of rainfall.  

In these instances of natural disaster, it is easy to feel helpless, like there’s no way you could help those in need. It’s hard to imagine what kind of impact we all can make as college students, hundreds of miles away from Texas. In the “Berry bubble”, situations such as these seem even further away. How can a college student help in a state of a natural disaster? US officials seem to be having a hard time handling it themselves. We can look to the aftermath of Katrina to see just how big of an impact college students are capable of making. In Louisiana’s time of need, colleges across the country raised money, sent volunteer groups, and even opened up their doors for displaced professors and students. Although it may not seem so, we are capable of great impact.  

As college students, we can help more than onemight imagine. Financially, we can donate to Global Giving, an organization trying to raise $2 million to help those affected by Harvey, The American Red Cross, or by texting HARVEY to 90999, $10 will be donated to help victims. Organizations like The Texas Diaper Bank puts together relief kits for families with small children, and accepts both financial and actual diaper donations.  

It’s important to remain optimistic in chaotic events like this. Stories of survival, rescue and positive news are always a breath of fresh air amidst such chaos and disaster. Viral photos like the dog carrying his food down the rain soaked streets, or men carrying children through waist high water give hope and credit to the goodness of people and strength of community even in the middle of destruction.  

Financial  contributions are not the only means of helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey.Through social media, we are able to connect, share, encourage, and listen to those being affected by Harvey. Even if we are not able to help financially, we should stay informed and keep others informed as well. The platform which social media provides comes in handy when disaster such as Hurrican Harvey occur. We are able to bring awareness and share stories with people around the world. The effect of something as small as spreading awareness, sending words of encouragement or even passing along these stories of survival, has a greater impact than one might think.  

We cannot use our distance, our separation, from Texas as an excuse to sit idly by and assume there is no way to take action. Whether it be through financial contribution, or sharing information through social media platforms, we are capable of assisting those in need, even in ways which may seem small. We should take this as an opportunity to exercise our strength as a generation and make an impact in this time of need.

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