Ready Campus

Mar 26, 2015

The University of Northern Iowa today hosted the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campus Fair. This event reached out to students, staff, and faculty and community members to encourage them to prepare for emergencies.

First in the state, FEMA’s disaster relief event featured other organizations such as the Iowa National Guard, Star One Search and Rescue, UNI student organizations, and more disaster-relief groups.

David Gervino, FEMA Region 7 spokesperson, explains UNI was selected as the first university to host a Ready Campus Fair because of its existing disaster relief infrastructure.

“It’s the university that brings their partners together,” explains Gervino, “and I think you can tell by all the partners represented here today that the university already had very good existing relationships with community organizations.”

Mark Grey, anthropology professor at UNI, explains the event speaks volumes about the increasing quality and number of disaster resources available in Iowa and nationwide.

“As a nation, we learned an awful lot after Hurricane Katrina and our response to that disaster. I think FEMA and other state and federal agencies have made a number of important changes since then, so I’m encouraged by it.”

“It’s very encouraging,” explains Grey. “I think it sends a signal to the faculty, the staff and the students that UNI is thinking about these things, it’s prepared for them. Also, it demonstrates that we have access to lots of resources even off campus.”

While at the fair, students also had the opportunity to learn how to pursue degrees in global health and humanitarian aid. UNI is working toward creating a Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree in emergency services, which administrators are hoping will come about in the next year. 

Iowa Public Radio intern Maddison Jansen contributed to this post.