I learned quite a bit about the resiliency and readiness of the Humboldt community over the last month.
It started on October 8 when we received short notice that, due to dangerous weather conditions in other areas of the state, PG&E would be shutting power off to all of Humboldt County. We lost power along with thousands of customers throughout California. Then it happened again, fortunately with more notice, a couple weeks later.
These unprecedented shutoffs tested the preparedness (and patience) of our students, faculty, and staff.
I couldn't be prouder of how we came together as a University community and made sure everyone was taken care of. Staff rallied to open the campus Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response. The J, powered by generators, became the central gathering point with activities, movies, and charging stations. There were free meals for all students, faculty, staff, and their families. Students were able to get support including extra blankets, short term accomodations, and counseling. Messaging to the campus community, as well as families, continued throughout the shutdowns.
Ultimately, all the hard work ensured that students were offered a safe space, fed, and stayed warm. We heard from many families about how grateful they were, including this from a mother in Orange County:
"When [my student] decided to go to Humboldt and we went to the orientations, your representatives spoke often of community and how you are a family at HSU. I thought it was just a selling point--a college that would care that much. I really didn't buy it. Boy, was I wrong! These last weeks, you have protected our children and shown them (and me) you truly are a community that deeply cares. We are blessed to have you and your amazing staff. Thank you so much for reaching out and being there when we couldn't be there. It means the world."
These stories of the Humboldt spirit are no surprise to me, but they reinforce my pride in the University and our communities.