Those visiting Minot State University's campus this past month have seen hundreds of people working hard on our community's behalf. The busy Red Cross Emergency Center and the FEMA center, as well as National Guard members and other emergency workers staying in our residence halls, are sure signs of the remarkable and selfless ways people have stepped up to help evacuees and others impacted by this emergency. They deserve our sincere appreciation and our strong voice of support as they continue to deal with the immediate and long-term issues facing our community. Mayor Curt Zimbelman and all others who responded so well during this difficult time deserve our most sincere gratitude as well. Our heart goes out to all people who have been directly impacted by this flood.
One need not look very far to see how difficult it has been for so many in our community, including our students, faculty and staff. The personal stories I hear of the losses and challenges are heart wrenching. We also know of many displaced MSU students who are worried about finding suitable housing before classes begin in August. Many faculty and staff have been displaced as well from their homes and are, like others in our community, facing immense personal challenges.
MSU has done everything possible to accommodate all emergency workers, volunteers, and community and state agencies. We are humbled by their selflessness and willingness to help our community; we are proud to open our doors, seven days a week , 24 hours a day, to offer services and facilities to those agencies and the many people in need. At the same time, we must advocate for the support of our students, faculty, and staff and to assist them in this time of need.
I want to assure everyone that our university is taking immediate steps to respond to housing needs on our campus. We are adding beds in our residence halls and making plans for Olympic-style housing units to accommodate 100 students. For this year, we have suspended the requirement that first-year students reside on campus. We are also reaching out to the Minot community and surrounding areas and asking people to contact us about available and affordable apartments and rooms for displaced students, faculty, and staff. If you are able to help and know of available rooms and apartments, please call our Student Affairs Office at 858-3299 or our Student Life Office at 858-3363. The welfare of our students, faculty, and staff is one of our top priorities right now as we prepare for our academic year to start in a few weeks.
Thankfully, our campus, our classroom buildings, and all of our services are in good shape. We are working hard to prepare for the start of classes and many events and activities in the fall semester. We are proud to support our community and our state, and proud to offer our students a topnotch education and high quality services.
(David Fuller is president of Minot State University)