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  • Writer's pictureGracie Bonato

Hurricane Ian impacts College of Charleston students in different ways

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

by Grace Bonato

Students at the College of Charleston have a lot to say about their experiences during and after the hit of Hurricane Ian last month.

Although the hurricane ended up making landfall farther north and bringing nothing but some high winds and a lot of rain to Charleston, students' lives were still upended.

It has been three years since Hurricane Dorian hit Charleston, the last hurricane to cause some panic and many evacuations.

For many students at The College this was their first time experiencing a hurricane in the Holy City.

A lot of CofC students chose to stay, and many felt prepared for what was coming.

Kendall Bishop, a senior at The College, was one of the many students who decided to stay in Charleston and ride it out.

“We considered evacuating, but after talking to our parents and checking the weather updates, we decided that the best decision for us would be to stay together, stay home, and prepare the best we could for what was coming,” said Bishop.

CofC students took precautionary measures to protect their homes from the storm.

“We brought in all of our outdoor furniture and filled up our bathtub with water so we could flush the toilet if our power happened to go out,” says Bishop.

Hanna Sellinger, a senior at CofC, also made sure she was well prepared and had the right necessities in order to be OK during the hurricane.

“My two roommates and I made sure to go to the grocery store the day before just in case we were unable to leave the house for a few days,” Sellinger said. “We also made sure to buy foods that were not perishable.”

Flooding was definitely one of the main environmental impacts of Hurricane Ian.

“Our street definitely experienced lots of flooding. We weren’t able to leave the house for about a day and a half but we were safe and sound inside,” says Bishop.

The city was extremely helpful when it came to keeping people’s cars safe, especially ones that were left in street parking.

“There's one thing I think the community did well, which was to open up the local parking garages for citizens to park their cars to avoid flooding damage,” says Gabrielle Papia, a CofC senior.

Papia decided to evacuate and go to her brother’s house in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“I would consider this hurricane a blessing in disguise because I got to see my brother whom I haven't seen in a very long time,” says Papia.

The College canceled classes on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 29-30, and sent out a chain of emails and Cougar Alerts including safety tips and precautions to take during the hurricane.

Charleston didn’t suffer any severe damage after the hurricane, but other communities nearby such as Pawleys Island and McClellanville experienced a lot worse.

Sellinger planned to seek out any volunteer opportunities in which she could serve those who have less access to things such as food, water, and shelter.

"I know places in Florida got some severe damage, and I would love to help them in any way I can. I need to do some research to figure out what I can do,” says Sellinger.

CofC sophomore Mikayla Day volunteered at Dorchester Paws to take care of one of the dogs in the shelter during the hurricane. She gave him a home to do whatever she could to help the community.

“I really enjoyed caring for him during this stressful time, and I hope that I helped him just as much as he helped me,” Day said.

The aftermath of Hurricane Ian wasn’t much of an issue to the CofC students and they made the most out of their experiences.

“I also saw and heard of people in kayaks and paddleboards floating down Morris Street,” says Papia.

Bishop was well prepared for the hurricane, and her house did not experience any severe damage.

“The anticipation of the hurricane coming was a bit scary,” Bishop says, “but all in all I ended up making the best out of the experience.”

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