Acadia offers support to Bahamian students worried about family
The shocking images from Hurricane Dorian are resonating in Wolfville, N.S.
There is a sizeable student population from the Bahamas attending Acadia University and the school is offering support during these troubling times.
When President Peter Ricketts first saw the images of the destruction in the Bahamas his first thought was for the 130 Bahamians attending Acadia as international students.
"The main purpose was to let our Bahamian students know that the university is thinking about this, that we're concerned about them, and we care about them," Ricketts said.
On Wednesday morning, Ricketts issued a statement to students and staff that served as a public call of support for those from the Bahamas who watched the devastation on television.
"Students are far away from home and not having their families and loved ones to support them," Ricketts said. "That's a stress from day to day."
Third-year student Enricque Woodside is worried about his parents and brother back in the Bahamas. He says he was comforted knowing that the president of his university would show his support in a public way.
"It means a lot to me that he would actually stop right there and say, 'hey you know, this is going on, what can I do to help?'" Woodside said.
He says the reaction on campus has been overwhelming.
Fundraisers are planned and a GoFundMe page has been created.
And it's not just Acadia that is offering on-campus support.
Dalhousie University in Halifax is also working to help students on campus.
"We're going to try and help make sure that if there are some issues around fees and tuition payments that, you know, we extend our deadlines to support them," said Ivan Joseph of Dartmouth University Student Affairs.
Acadia University has also offered on-campus suport for students.
"Of course we have a wonderful staff in the Wong International Centre and their focus is to support our international students, so we've been doing that," said Ricketts.
Alexis Mackey works at the international centre and is an Acadia graduate who is separated from her family back home.
"Honestly, it's devastation," Mackey said. "It's really sad to see that some of my people are going through this and that something like this actually happened."
Mackey knows tough days are ahead, but she promises the people of the Bahamas will bounce back.
"I know one thing for sure," Mackey said. "Bahamians are a resilient group of people."
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth.