On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall just after 3pm near Cayo Costa Island in Southwest Florida. Not only was its surrounding impact swift and destructive, it continues to make its case as one of the worst hurricanes to hit Florida, and the United States, ever.
32 miles southwest of where Ian came ashore sits Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), a thriving public research institution located in Fort Myers, Florida, that has become a popular destination for prospective college students from around the United States and the world to pursue their higher education.
However, since the storm hit, FGCU’s campus has endured both damage and numerous emergency ordinances that have been taxing on the student body and faculty alike. The school of over 14,600 enrolled students has only resumed classes within the past week, and remains an overwhelmingly valuable resource to not only students and faculty, but to the entire communities extending well beyond its campus.
Through its dedicated Hurricane Ian webpage, the school has logged more than two dozen advisories, from tracking Ian well before it was designated a tropical depression to orchestrating relief efforts through the aftermath of the category 4 storm. Anything and everything FGCU can provide to assist its students, faculty and staff is constantly updated, archived and available 24/7 thanks to the University’s dedication towards keeping everyone informed.
Overall, the campus itself held up well, given the severe damage throughout the surrounding region, and that is why much of its resources have been directed towards assisting locally impacted communities and beyond. Like many residents throughout the area, students who live off campus as well as faculty and staff have been displaced due to their homes sustaining major damage or were destroyed altogether.
Though Florida Gulf Coast University has reopened, the school does not expect all students to return immediately, and is addressing each student, faculty and staff member’s needs individually, knowing everyone is enduring their own hardships. Nevertheless, FGCU’s response to help the City of Fort Myers, and surrounding municipalities has been nothing short of remarkable. It’s a true testament of what can be achieved in times of need.
If you would like to offer support, volunteering is available by filling out the online form provided by the school, or if you would like to make a gift regarding Hurricane Ian, FGCU is accepting donations virtually, and by check to the Florida Gulf Coast University Foundation’s Campus Support Complex located at 10501 FGCU Blvd. S. • Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565.