TIN Forges Bond With Florida Students Impacted by Ian


Jeanette Falotico, Staff Writer

“We are still documenting the condition of homes and vehicles, but we know that we haven’t lost any of our people. Homes and vehicles have been swept away. We are still digging out. Electricity and internet are still spotty and inconsistent,” said Florida SouthWestern State College Vice President Geraldine Gallagher.

On Sept. 28, Hurricane Ian devastated southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm, especially hard hit was the city of Fort Myers and the surrounding communities.

As the tenth anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches, The Innovation Network at Brookdale Community College reached out to Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW), the community college in Fort Myers to see how they could help.

“Hurricane Ian hit us hard but did not break our resolve. We continue to help our students, faculty, and staff recover through this ordeal. Many have lost all of their possessions. Our FSW facilities team has done an outstanding job in getting our campuses back to operational status,” said Greg Turchetta, public information officer, Florida SouthWestern State College.

“FSW was able to open our three small campuses on Oct. 12. Our main campus in Fort Myers will not open fully for students this term. Meanwhile, Lee students joined their professors online. As our FSW community rebuilds from Hurricane Ian, we count on each other for support – both in and out of the classroom. Those who are displaced need household goods, kitchenware, and small appliances as they navigate living in temporary quarters for a prolonged period of time,” Gallagher said.

“The FSW team has been working around the clock to assess and address the highest-order damage to our campuses. We are actively gathering resources to assist those hit with catastrophic damage and loss. Our Student Affairs team began triaging students immediately after the hurricane. FSW’s HR team has been distributing household goods and food on campus.”

“Our foundation has committed significant relief funds to wrap our learners, professors, and team members in support,” said Dr. Jeff Albritten, president of FSW.

The Innovation Network at Brookdale Community College is joining its philanthropic effort. “Living through Sandy 10 years ago opened my eyes to how devastating these storms can be. But I also saw what happens when a community comes together to rebuild and help each other. I knew exactly what these residents of southwest Florida were experiencing after Hurricane Ian, and so when TIN decided to reach out to help the students and families of Florida SouthWestern College, I knew I wanted to be a part of that,” said Isabel Shaw, a journalism major and vice president of The Innovation Network.

Individuals interested in supporting Florida SouthWestern State College may donate via Florida Southwestern State College Foundation or select items off their Amazon wish list. Donations sent via the Amazon wish list will be sent to the Florida SouthWestern State College Lee Campus distribution center and the FSW Mina Pantry.

Photo: FSW students pick up donated everyday supplies such as food and toiletries on their campus.