It’s been one week since UCF braved Hurricane Irma, and campus restoration efforts are moving slowly as classes resume. When the storm hit Orlando last week, debris was scattered everywhere, making the campus resemble the student section after a 2015 football game; completely abandoned, covered in garbage, and pretty depressing. One week of hard work from clean up crews later, it looks more like Memory Mall after a tailgate; cleaner than expected, but with plenty of work still to do.
After days of signing work orders, President Hitt used the last of his flagging strength to bring in members of the National Guard to assist in recovery efforts. Despite their eagerness to assist the UCF community, the Guard was met with resistance from Spectrum Stadium management.
“We wish the National Guard the best of luck in getting emergency supplies to recovering areas, but our policy on outside food and drink is clear,” said Spectrum representative Bailey Hurst. “If they want to take water bottles to the students, they’re gonna have to buy them at the concession stand and carry them out in see-through bags.”
Naturally, after a week of fighting hurricane damage and stadium regulations, the National Guard was weary. Spokesperson Chad Russell said, “We’re all pretty exhausted and ready to go home. We’ve already spent more time on the Spectrum field than the football team has this season — and God knows we’ve moved more yards.”
With the National Guard’s assistance ending soon, a big concern on campus is whether the university will be able to provide enough food for its more than 64,000 students. Restaurants across UCF reported that most of their supplies were spoiled after power outages from Irma. Given the state of the roads, they have not yet had enough time to fully restock with fresh supplies. Huey Magoo’s manager Roger Li stated, “To help students and faculty recover, we’re offering BOGO this Monday on all menu items containing chicken.”
Despite the technical difficulties incurred by some organizations on campus, the student body as a whole seems to be bouncing right back. Senior political science major Susy Morgan said, “How much has really changed? I mean, campus was already a mess before we had 100 mph winds that knocked everything over. So, what, now there are a couple more men with vests and hardhats walking around?”
While some students appeared apathetic about the record-breaking storm, others expressed gratitude. “I had an essay due last Monday that got delayed,” reported Tom Harrison, a sophomore English major. “Thanks to Irma, I had another six days to blow it off.”
Other minor delays have also been reported around campus — several witnesses claimed to have seen emergency responders being waylaid by Knight News and other student news correspondents incessantly requesting interviews.