Hurricane Irma has passed, but students on campus personally affected by the storm are still trying to figure out what happened back home. 

Elon University sophomore Chantrisse Howard is a St. Thomas native and first heard from her family three hours before the storm hit. Her mom told her only the windows were broken. 

Another three days passed until Howard heard from her family again. 

“They said that the doors are gone, all the windows are gone, cars were gone and the neighborhood around them was just destroyed," Howard said, recalling what her family told her.

Hurricane Irma was a record-breaking Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. Howard said that often times the islands in the caribbean can be overlooked. 

“I think people need to recognize that the U.S. Virgin Islands is a part of the United States. It’s not just the contiguous United States that needs the attention,” she said. 

Though she’s hundreds of miles away, one thing makes her feel a bit closer. Sophomore Destiny Frett went to highschool in St.Thomas with Howard, sharing in Howard's worries about  being away from her hometown.

“It was good because it was like a little bit of home, somebody I knew was going through the same thing I was and who was also looking for answers,” Frett said. 

Remaining so in the dark and unsure about the state of her home, Frett had a hard time pushing away her stress and anxiety to go about her everyday life.

“I could not focus in any of my classes on Thursday. And on Friday I was just like I can’t even go to class because I was constantly checking Facebook. That was my only way to know exactly what’s happening,” Frett said.

Now, both Elon students have been trying to raise awareness for their community back home. 

“Even though you don’t know much about the place, any little thing is helpful,” Howard said. 

Frett recommends donating money, supplies and food to help out with the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands and through NBA legend Tim Duncan's fundraising page

 

 


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