After the devastating fire in Southview that started around noon today, the community is quickly coming together in an effort to help those affected.
Right now, Southview residents can go to the clubhouse for Bojangles, Benny’s, Dominos, Chick-fil-A, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Buffalo Wild Wings. Red Cross caseworkers are coming from Charlottesville and will be in the clubhouse shortly to help students with financial needs and to gather student contact information. Students can also find members of the counseling center here who are available to talk or help make appointments.
The counseling center has been here since around 1 p.m. to support in any way they can. Carolyn Strack, a psychologist at the counseling center has been on the scene to help.
“We’re just here to offer support — a place to talk,” Strack said. “We know this is a stressful time of year, and this is another stressful event ... We’re going to make an effort to sort of identify students who have been directly impacted by this and try and reach out.”
Going forward, students are encouraged to talk to counselors. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students can make an appointment in advance or come in during their walk-in hours, which are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The counseling center additionally asked Father Peter Nassetta from the Catholic Campus Ministry to come and offer students support. According to Nassetta, interfaith chaplains met with the police department, Tim Miller and the counseling center, which likely inspired them to reach out.
“People’s faith comes into play, and what’s happening and why God allowed this,” Nassetta said. “I think people are mostly just in shock. Right now, they’re just kind of processing.”
Nassetta said that most of the students he’s had the chance to talk with so far have been checking in with friends and are thankful they were required to get renters insurance this year. According to Nassetta, someone who lives in the house for the Knights of Columbus said that they have room or will make room for those looking for a place to stay.
Nassetta stresses the importance of not only checking in with friends but continuing to do so. He compared it to when someone passes away.
“To me, it seems like, you know, they often say when somebody dies, you know you have so much support around you, and then, everybody’s gone, and you’re living with the loss,” Nassetta said. “There’s going to be people living with a lot of loss.”
Hailey Ciolino, junior architectural design major, is one of the students who came to the scene in support of those affected.
“I’m just so heartbroken for everyone,” Ciolino said. Ciolino’s roommate is a friend of someone whose apartment was affected. “She has lost everything … I think that everyone needs to pitch in and try and figure out a way to help these students because they don’t have homes or, like, clothes anymore or anything, and it’s just so sad because we’re literally in college, so it’s gonna be hard to recover from all this.”
The food in the clubhouse and the counseling center’s support are just some of the community’s efforts so far.
A GoFundMe was set up by Courtney Brogna, senior hospitality management major, to help the Dukes in need. As of 3:54 p.m. it has raised over $25,000 from over 1,500 people and has been shared 5.7 thousand times. Students can donate and spare the page through social media to encourage people to donate.
At this time, Southview is accepting non-monetary donations. They will be open until at least 6 p.m. at Panera Bread, Delta Phi Epsilon will be having a proceeds night from 4-8 p.m. and the JMU Muslim Students Association is hosting a dinner at 7 p.m. in Madison Union 304 for anyone affected.
Apartment complexes such as 865 East and The Hills are collecting donations such as clothes, food and toiletries. Student Government Association and Women of Color will also be accepting donations such as body wash, feminine hygiene products, blankets and more. Donations will be accepted in the SGA office in Madison Union. Some resident’s advisers are additionally walking around with donation boxes and more are expected to be on the Quad.
Here’s a growing list of additional community donation efforts:
To Write Love on Her Arms: Outrigger’s office
JMU Army ROTC: Memorial
JMU Alpha Phi Omega: TDU
JMU Phi Alpha Delta: Madison Union 404
JMU Phi Sigma Pi: 557 South Mason
JMU Phi Epsilon Kappa: TBD
JMU Gamma Phi Beta: FSL office
JMU Hillel: TBD
JMU Panhellenic Council: FSL office
JMU Delta Phi Epsilon: Carrier Library, Rose Library, Grafton Theater
JMU Theta Tau: Festival
SGA and Women of Color: Madison Union 331
JMU Alpha Delta Pi: FSL office and ADPi house
Club lacrosse: TBD
Contact Shanna Kelly at email@example.com. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.