For the second year in a row, SCAD is evacuating its Savannah campus and shuffling the start of the fall quarter as a massive hurricane churns in the Atlantic Ocean. Students who are already in Savannah should leave the city, the University advised in emails, and those who are headed to Savannah, should turn around or delay travel plans.
On Wednesday, SCAD announced that the Savannah campus will be closed beginning Friday, September 8, for the duration of Hurricane Irma. On-campus Savannah students who cannot leave on their own to the Atlanta campus will be relocated. Relocation of students will occur at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
SCAD Residence Life and Housing sent an email to all students currently on campus announcing a mandatory meeting Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. to review SCAD’s relocation plans.
According to Residence Life, if students have just dropped off their belongings and are not currently staying on campus or have not yet arrived on campus, they are expected to self-relocate and monitor SCAD communication for arrival times after the storm.
This announcement comes after the news on Tuesday, that SCAD fall quarter for Savannah, Atlanta and e-learning will be postponed one week due to the uncertainty of the path of Hurricane Irma. The Savannah campus was evacuated in 2016 as Hurricane Matthew hit the city with high winds and heavy rains.
Reactions from SCAD students varied from relief to frustration as views were expressed both on and off social media. Jessica Belote, a junior game design and development student from Midlothian, Virginia, said postponing the quarter by one week was the most realistic option given the situation.
“Though we still do not have definitive answers one what path Irma will take and how powerful it will be wherever it makes landfall, waiting until we have definitive answers would put students with early move in or off campus students in possible jeopardy,” Belote said. “God forbid if they held off and Irma does directly hit Savannah.”
Belote said that while she is disappointed she won’t be able to move in this weekend and start the quarter as previously scheduled, she hopes her fellow students, as well as faculty, remain safe.
“It is safer to have those students at home,” Belote said. “If home is in areas that are predicted to be hit by Irma, they have more flexibility there as to where to evacuate to than if they had to evacuate with SCAD, and they can be with loved ones.”
Veronica Funk, a junior sequential art major from Rockport, Massachusetts, said she had mixed reactions to the news.
“When I first got news of school being postponed, I was a mix of happy and really anxious,” Funk said. “Happy because I thought maybe I’d get more time to spend at home and anxious because it had a possibility of messing with our travel plans. But the travel plan honestly has nothing to do with SCAD because it was just nature screwing us all.”
Like Belote, Funk said she believes SCAD had no choice but to postpone classes.
“I would rather be stuck in an apartment or in a hotel than risk being swept away by the rain and wind and ruining what ever artwork I would have to carry around,” Funk said. “In a way, it is less of a problem for me because I am moving into an apartment rather than a dorm. I also have no choice but to still fly down before the hurricane hits because JetBlue won’t let us change our flights.”
Leigh Fields, junior graphic design from Boston, Massachusetts said she is grateful SCAD made the decision to delay the start of the quarter when they did because it allowed the time needed to rearrange and create travel plans to and from the area.
“It is allowing everyone to be safe, which is the priority here,” Fields. “It’s easy to take that for granted and forget how important that is when all we see from the safety of our homes is the disruption to our schedule. Let’s fight one battle at a time, people, and gain some perspective. If this monster hit Savannah head on, we may not even have a campus left to attend these dreaded Friday classes. No matter what, it’s an inconvenience, but that’s Irma’s fault, not SCAD’s.”
Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 5 hurrican and predicted to remain at least a category 4 for the next few days. According to the National Weather Service, it is still too early to predict the storm’s exact impact on the southeast U.S. Citizens should not focus on the exact forecast track, as impacts can occur well away from the storm center.
Students are encouraged to monitor their email, cellphone, Twitter and scad.edu for updates on the trajectory of the storm. Click here for more information regarding SCAD’s evacuation plan.
Written by Emilie Kefalas.