By: Elizabeth Wong
It’s often easy to forget that we’re connected to the rest of the world after living on Franciscan University’s campus for a while.
Our lives are school-centered: our daylight hours are filled with classes and extracurricular activities, and our evening hours are usually filled with homework, hanging out, and sleeping. Our meals are provided by the caf, most of us live in the residence halls or the Assisi Heights, and having a strong Catholic university with many chapels on campus, Mass is practically on our doorstep. We are very fortunate.
It’s also easy to get wrapped up in our own problems and forget that there is a lot going on in the world down the Hill. Sure, there are the stresses of midterms, the trials of repetitive caf recipes, and the noisy neighbors who violate quiet hours every night. But there is actually a lot more outside our university that should receive our attention.
For example: Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. For many people on the East Coast, this is likely the most traumatizing thing that has ever happened to them. Just look at the news and see the growing numbers of missing people, destroyed homes, and death tolls. Until now, Hurricane Katrina was viewed as one of the worst storms in recent history, and now Sandy is being compared to it.
I don’t mean for this to be overly depressing, but these are the facts. Peoples’ whole homes, which many of them had spent their entire lives building, were destroyed in a matter of minutes. If it wasn’t flooding, it may have been the enormous fires that sparked from electrical problems. I heard one story of a firefighter whose own house was destroyed in the very flames he was fighting in order to protect his neighborhood.
If it wasn’t actual property loss, many people are still suffering from power outages. This is more than a lack of internet: this is a lack of heating for their homes, no way to heat up their meals, and no lighting for when the sun sets. One New York woman who was interviewed on the news emphasized how “very quiet” her apartment was after dark: no source of sounds, and complete darkness.
For others, it comes down to inconveniences that are not quite so bad, but practically speaking, make life very difficult. In New Jersey, for instance, many trees are down, causing excessive property damage.
With all of this in mind, how can we complain that our comfy college student lives are so difficult? It’s easy to forget that others suffer hardships worse that what we have to deal with, until it hits closer to home. We have a number of students who are from the areas hit very hard, and it was doubtlessly hard to go home for fall break only to be surrounded by damage.
As the victims of the hurricane begin to rebuild their lives, we can do many things to help. We can send money to relief efforts such as American Red Cross (www.redcross.org/Hurricane_Aid). We can volunteer our efforts if we’re ever in the areas that were affected. But most of all we can pray for the people who have been affected, for the souls of those who lost their lives, and for the continued efforts to rebuild the homes and neighborhoods.