Updated at 3 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2018 to include a statement from Jon Dooley, Vice President for Student Life.
For some Elon University students on campus, the decision to stay during Fall Break came from craving a few days of relaxation on campus and a chance to explore the local area.
But with Hurricane Michael's heavy wind and rain affecting campus over the past few days, this time for relaxation turned into a few days of inconvenience and frustration.
For the Station at Mill Point resident and senior Ryan Healey, flying home to Connecticut for what she said "felt like a long weekend" did not seem worth traveling for two extra days off of school.
Healey and her roommate decided it would be best to stay on campus and enjoy some time together.
Mill Point was the only on-campus housing that lost power during the storm.
It wasn’t until Healey and her roommate woke up from the winds and power surges while taking a nap on Thursday afternoon that they decided to take precaution.
“The power started to flicker. So we filled up the pots and things like that with water, and then the power went out,” Healey said.
The power at Mill Point went out around 5 p.m. on Thursday. That was preceded by emails from both Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley and Elon’s E-Alert system warning students about thunderstorms and encouraging them to seek shelter.
“Once the lights started to flicker, we were like, 'Oh, this could be kind of bad,'" Healey said. "We were looking outside and seeing trees kind of moving. We were a little worried about that."
She said there should have been more communication with students on campus before the power went out.
“There was not a lot of communication before the storm like there was for Florence. Just like leading up to it. It was just like that first email, seek shelter,” Healey said.
Hurricane Florence formed on Aug. 31, but did not make landfall until Sept. 14. That provided the university ample time to prepare for the storm's arrival. By contrast, Hurricane Michael formed on Oct. 7 and made landfall on Oct. 10.
In a statement from Dooley, he said "The nature and timing of the storms was quite different – one predicted to make landfall in the state of North Carolina and directly pass over Elon’s campus at a time when classes were in session, with the other predicted to make landfall in Florida and weaken to a tropical storm by the time it reached North Carolina at a time we were on Fall Break. The lesson learned for students is that no one storm will be just like the next."
Dooley also said that 'student safety is always our top priority and concern'.
Still, residents of Mill Point thought more direct storm updates would have been helpful ahead of Michael's impact.
“I think they were sending the same emails to us as they were sending them to the general student population, which I feel like was a little bit odd," Healey said. "We were not really getting any just Mill Point emails, especially when we realized we were the only area of neighborhood that was out of power."
Reed Stiller, another Mill Point resident, decided to stay on campus for Fall Break after his original plans fell through.
While Stiller says he would have stayed on campus regardless of whether the power went out, he said the university could have communicated more with students who were staying on campus during the break.
“Had they taken a similar preparation that they did for Florence, I would have been grocery shopping for stuff I could have held onto. I would have made sure our fridge was a little bit more empty," Stiller said. "Just generally would have been a little bit more prepared for this one."
In response to the university's plan for any future power outages, Dooley stated "Weather-related events very unpredictable, so it can be unhelpful to second-guess decisions that are made in the moment with the best information available at the time. As we do with any situation like this, the university’s senior leadership will review our processes and procedures to evaluate how they worked with the particularities of the incident."