This week I shared a quick message with my Nicholson School colleagues as we prepared to come back to the office and the classroom post-Hurricane Ian. Instead of the column I had prepared for this month I’d like to share that same message here. As we see the aftermath of the storm leave the news cycles and schedules return to “normal” it is important to remember that many folks are facing deep loss and prolonged stress. Many, many community members and local organizations around Florida have been actively providing support and resources. If you know of other needs or ways to help please reach out so we can add them to our ongoing list for students, staff, and faculty.

Our community is facing another complex crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. It is tempting to talk about things as though everyone is experiencing something similar. Often, we hear things like “storms don’t discriminate” or “we’re all in the same boat” when devastation is far reaching. If anything, disasters typically lay bare the deep inequalities in our structures. The storm will have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable, and many relief paths will be difficult and time consuming to navigate. Our communication instincts during difficulty do not always serve our relationships or express the concern we may be feeling. While our own belief systems may bring us comfort as we look for meaning in tragedy, others may find perspectives like “everything happens for a reason” to be dismissive of the realities of their experience. I frequently recommend this quick read on Ring Theory of Support when folks want to show care effectively during crisis.

It is as important as ever to recognize that we are situated differently to respond to this crisis. There are not enough mechanisms in place for equitable outcomes and resources. There will not be a break from caretaking and household responsibilities – in fact this labor may increase exponentially for many. We cannot underestimate the importance of grace, compassion, and checking our assumptions. I know we are already exhausted by many challenges, so we will have to rely on each other to distribute the work of care. Take care of yourselves and each other.

In solidarity,



Support resources:


Ways to help

Published to Nicholson News on October 7th, 2022.

This article was written by Jennifer Sandoval, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Assistant Director of Inclusive Culture, and Ph.D. Program Coordinator.

She can be contacted at

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