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Leadership

A message from the chancellor: Building a more resilient North Carolina

"UNC-Chapel Hill has a long history of stepping up in the aftermath of major storms. Strengthening our capacity to weather natural disasters is a good example of how a public university like Carolina helps meet the grand challenges of our time."

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Rain falls on Polk Place on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Dear Carolina Community,

I hope everyone is staying safe today as Hurricane Ian passes through our state, and the extent of its destruction is unknown. Our thoughts are with all who have been severely affected by this and other recent storms, including those in Florida, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic who are facing a long and difficult recovery.

North Carolina is no stranger to the hardships of hurricanes, and UNC-Chapel Hill has a long history of stepping up in the aftermath of major storms. Strengthening our capacity to weather natural disasters is a good example of how a public university like Carolina helps meet the grand challenges of our time. We make a difference in immediate ways, like the researchers at the Institute of Marine Science who create detailed storm surge predictions or the doctors, nurses and first responders who train at UNC-Chapel Hill so they can be ready in moments of need.

We also contribute through broader, longer-term efforts to build a more resilient state. Faculty in the School of Education partner with school districts in eastern North Carolina to support students and teachers whose lives are disrupted by hurricanes. Professors in the School of Law offer detailed analysis of insurance regulations and the role they can play in lowering the cost of storms. Scholars in the department of city and regional planning in the College of Arts and Sciences help communities build back stronger in the aftermath of catastrophic damage, while researchers in the Institute for the Environment consider ways to minimize environmental harm. Professors in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media help local media work together in covering enormous and challenging stories of recovery.

Those are just some of the ways our faculty, staff and students make a difference in the face of disaster. The Carolina community has also volunteered thousands of hours for rebuilding and recovery efforts across our state in recent years, and you can learn more or sign up to help through the Carolina Center for Public Service.

Natural disasters remind us of how vulnerable our lives and communities can be, but a place like Carolina reminds us that we’re not powerless in these difficult moments. There is important work to be done, and we’re ready to do our part.

Sincerely,
Kevin M. Guskiewicz
Chancellor