By Peter Edgar
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, not all of the damage inflicted was to buildings and flora–campus’ events schedule was wrecked as well. Thankfully, a team of individuals at the Center for Student Involvement (CSI), the Student Government Association (SGA), the Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE), and a number of student organizations worked together to rearrange and reschedule as many events as possible.
When I walked into the Rogers Building to meet with Mike Crawford, Assistant Dean of Student Development, organizers and representatives of several of the aforementioned departments were still in the process of planning the semester, comparing schedules, and allocating resources for future events.
Crawford described his philosophy for this process: “when we realized the storm was headed for us and more severe, we decided that in order to provide the best experience for students and to maintain the integrity of our events, we would need to rearrange and move them.” He emphasized that his intention was to save as many events as he could from the possibility of cancellation.
The Simmons Center, which sustained two direct tree hits during the course of the storm, is under repairs; for this reason many of the events put on by the Multicultural Student Council have been relocated. The MSC Meet-And-Greet, the jazz musician’s performance, and the kickoff event to Hispanic Heritage Month have been moved to Saturday the 23rd of September.
“We’re doing the best we can to reschedule things,” Crawford said, “Halloween Horror Nights is a very popular trip; it filled up in 20 minutes.” After moving the date of the event to October 11, those involved in coordinating the Discover FL program, through the generosity of a donor, were able to raise the number of available tickets to a few hundred!
Political events both local and national–like FSC Town Hall and Constitution Day–were also rescheduled. Town Hall, where students are presented with College and Student administration for questions,
Some events that are being rescheduled weren’t originally slated for the past two weeks, but since recruitment has been moved, Crawford and his team wanted to make sure that there were no major conflicts of interest between rush and student organizations. “We sent an email out to all the student organizations, and all of them were very helpful,” Crawford said.
Some campus events are still pending reschedule. For Crawford, cancellation is not an option. Though he wasn’t directly involved in the event, “the Center for Free Enterprise is in negotiation with rescheduling Nigel Farage,” (one of the big-name British politicians to orchestrate Brexit), who was slated to appear during the week without classes. A trip to the Dali museum and a Southern Cinema event and pool party are also in the works.
CSI made a special effort to “beef up” students’ first week back, since the hurricane “was a difficult time for students. It created a lot of stress, and we recognize that.” Swipes and points for the hurricane carried over, and unused swipes will carry over as points into the last week of September. “We’re really doing our best to be accommodating for everyone; they had to purchase plane tickets they might not have otherwise purchased. We’re trying to finish the semester strong.”
Chick-fil-a on dinner in Wynee’s Bistro was the first of events to welcome students back, followed by the Thursday night food truck rally in Lakeland’ Munn Park, but the weekend is what FSC really packed with special activities: steak and shrimp night on the green, a hypnotist on campus, Studio Box, all supplied with “Welcome Home” merch and door prizes. “We put it all together in a couple of days.”