Hampton University is lending a helping hand to students and families impacted by Hurricane Dorian, which barreled across the Bahamas this week, leaving death and destruction in its path.
According to a press release, the historically Black institution has partnered with the University of Bahamas to offer free enrollment, as well as room & board to students displaced by the super storm, allowing them to continue their education on HU’s campus for the fall 2019 semester.
Bahamian students will also have the choice to remain at the Virginia university once the semester ends but must pay regular tuition and fees.
“I think this agreement is something that can be helpful to a great number of students and families, and is part of something I’ve tried to do my entire career — helping people to achieve and meet their goals,” HU President Dr. William R. Harvey said in a statement.
An estimated 30 people have been declared dead, and officials fear that number could rise after the Category 5 storm dumped heavy rains and forceful winds across the northern Bahamas islands for more than two days. The Grand Bahama International Air port in Freeport was left almost unrecognizable amid the devastation, and the nearby Abaco Islands also suffered extensive damage.
“It’s not good,” resident Greta Pintard told MSNBC on Wednesday. “Many people are dead. There’s nothing on the island.”
“During the storm, my roof went off,” she added, fighting back tears. “My husband had to put my son and some other persons in the roof, and they slept in the rafters. He slept on the washer. A guy slept on the fridge … it wasn’t good conditions at all. But we got out.”
Dr. Rodney Smith, President of the University of Bahamas, cheered the recent agreement with HU, as did Bahamian students who attended the university in years past.
“I’m so grateful to President Harvey and the university’s leadership on this demonstration of kindness and humanity to my home in our time of need,” said Lawrence Rigby, a Nassau, New Providence native who served as the 2014-2015 Student Government Association President at Hampton. “Young Bahamians from Abaco and Grand Bahama who are looking for the tools to rebuild their lives and our home will find them at Hampton.”