NGU shows quick response to coastal evacuations during Hurricane Dorian
Tigerville, SC (September 16, 2019) Hurricane Dorian, an extremely powerful, long-lived, and destructive tropical cyclone, devastated the northwestern Bahamas and caused significant damage to the Southeastern United States and Atlantic Canada. The hurricane caused catastrophic damage to Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, with at least 70,000 people left homeless.
In preparation for the storm, the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia all declared a state of emergency and many coastal counties from Florida to North Carolina issued mandatory evacuation orders. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued a mandatory evacuation order on Monday, September 2.
In response to the mandatory evacuation order, North Greenville University (NGU) President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., asked the NGU Community to show provision to the several requests for housing and other means of support from multiple sources. The university was able to house the Charleston Southern University (CSU) women’s volleyball team and 15 of their international students.
“We were grateful for the opportunity to serve our friends and colleagues at these schools. I am so proud of the “all-hands-on-deck” response from almost every part of the university that allowed us to open up facilities so quickly,” said NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. “Hospitality is a Christian virtue, and we were humbled to have the opportunity to serve in these ways. I should also note that our visitors were model guests and added wonderful enhancements to our community during their time with us.”
In an interview with WYFF4, CSU Head Volleyball Coach David McFatrich said the team could have disbanded during the hurricane and gone home. However, through careful coordination between the schools, McFatrich was able to keep his team together while waiting out the storm.
“The NGU community demonstrated the love of Christ in countless ways, a hands-on love that was experienced by close and personal by our volleyball team and two vanloads of international students,” said CSU President Dr. Dondi E. Costin. “‘Thanks’ just doesn’t convey everything we’d like to say, but we continue to thank God for you and yours for treating us like part of the family.”
Another opportunity to serve those impacted by the storm came through NGU Athletics as they were contacted by the coaching staff from the Citadel and Coastal Carolina football programs. Even though both programs had housing arrangements, they reached out to NGU about practicing on NGU’s fields and the use of the weight room. The Citadel football team was invited to watch the North Greenville Crusaders’ first home football game of the season on Thursday evening. NGU defeated Newberry College 17-7.
In an interview with WYFF4, NGU’s Vice President for Campus Ministries and Student Engagement Jody Jennings said the transplanted students and coaches were able to use the school’s facilities while the hurricane moved up the coast.
“The unity that comes from this is far greater than any cost we could ever incur,” Jennings said. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us as a university just to demonstrate the love of Christ as a Christ-centered institution, to say we welcome anyone at a time of emergency.”