Students react via social media to hurricane Irma

Joke pages, complaints about FAU, and support for the university littered social media while classes were canceled.


A tree outside the College of Medicine was uprooted during Irma onto a path leading to the building. It was later split into pieces following an inspection of campus. Ryan Lynch | Business Manager

Thomas Chiles, Features Editor

W hether out of state, hunkered down in the dorms, or taking shelter with family hundreds of miles from Boca, FAU students kept up their presence on social media in the days before and after hurricane Irma.

Early storm forecasts showed the Category 5 hurricane striking southeast Florida, causing many students to evacuate from the east coast to the west coast of the state. In response, FAU canceled classes from Wednesday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 10 and closed all campuses starting Thursday of that week.

The eye then shifted toward the west coast just before landfall Sunday, putting those who evacuated there back into the storm’s path.

One of these evacuees was multimedia studies student Alex Liscio, who left at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7 for Naples in hopes of avoiding the eye.

In the days before Irma made landfall, students across the state joined joke Facebook groups that centered around keeping the hurricane from hitting Florida.

On the event page, over 2,000 people marked themselves as interested, many of which were FAU students like Kate Bridget. The mechanical engineering major evacuated to Sarasota on the west coast.

Although Irma’s most destructive winds struck the Keys and the west coast of Florida, the sheer size of the storm sent hurricane force winds across the entire state. Up to 15 of Florida’s 20 millions residents were without power, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday, Sept. 12.

In the storm’s aftermath, students questioned when FAU’s campuses would be open again. A university email sent Sunday, Sept. 10 stated classes would only be canceled Monday and Tuesday, sending students to social media to critique the university’s actions, like FAU student Kaleigh M. Dietz.

Social work major Lexi Watkins voiced her concern that out-of-state students who had evacuated wouldn’t have enough time to return to southeast Florida before classes started.

After FAU officials finished assessing the damage around campus following the storm, they emailed students Monday, Sept. 11 saying classes were canceled until the following Monday, Sept. 18. English major Michael John tweeted his appreciation soon after.

University Press news editor Benjamin Paley and staff writer Nate Nkumbu contributed to the reporting of this story.

Thomas Chiles is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @thomas_iv.