JDCC steps up to the plate this hurricane season
Published 7:05 pm Monday, April 24, 2006
Community colleges often wear a lot of hats in the communities they serve - educators, entertainers, public servants.
Add one more to the list.
Jefferson Davis Community College, along with its sister institutions across the state, is stepping up to the plate this year to provide shelter for hurricane evacuees.
Under the state's new plan, Alabama's two-year colleges - and their dorms, cafeterias and other facilities - will be used to provide longer-term shelter for those fleeing storms along the coast.
It's easy to look at this new plan as a slap in the face to the Red Cross, an organization that was criticized nationally for its role in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath.
But instead, why not look at it as a way that Alabama is learning a lesson from Katrina, easily the worst natural disaster ever to hit the gulf coast, and from previous storms.
Red Cross is involved in the state's plans and will provide its expertise in shelter management, while the colleges have the right facilities to be able to provide long-term shelter.
The state is taking an innovative - and proactive - approach to sheltering evacuees. It's a bold step, and the plan needs to be spelled out in detail by the June 1 start of hurricane season. We expect the state to keep colleges - and residents - in the loop on plans and preparations.
And we applaud the community colleges for their willingness to step in during times of need in the state. It's a big role for the schools - and certainly emphasizes the “community” in their names.