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family preparedness natural disasters Reynolds

Family Preparedness for Natural Disasters

With only about three months remaining in 2017, this year has proven to be a costly one in terms of natural disasters. So far this year, a total of 85 federal disaster declarations have been issued, dealing with everything from winter storms and flooding to hurricanes and wildfires. The unprecedented scale of these disasters has impacted many in our university community. In a matter of just two weeks, the country was hit by two major hurricanes, resulting in the evacuation of six million people in Texas and another 5.6 million in Florida (where I reside in Tampa). Both Harvey and Irma made landfall as Category 4 storms. And in the west, there are no less than 120 wildfires that have destroyed countless acres of forest and thousands of homes.

In a perfect world, everyone would be prepared anytime disaster strikes, but the reality is few disasters allow time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, thus making early planning a necessity. Whether it is wildfires in the west, tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest or hurricanes in the south and east coast, we all face the ever-present threat of disaster. Preparedness begins at home with our families, assuring they have the necessities needed for survival during long-term emergencies. While preparing my own family and home for the arrival of Irma, I spent the day sending out a series of tweets to help other members of our university community prepare their own families for disaster.

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Ed Albin eclipse

Reflections on the Total Eclipse

For millions of Americans, Monday, August 21, 2017, presented a rare opportunity to see a spectacular total eclipse of the sun. The swath of totality made a diagonal path across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina. People within its bicoastal path saw one of nature’s most fascinating spectacles.

Many members of the APUS Space Studies department (faculty and students alike) traveled about the country to view and photograph the eclipse. I experienced 1:42 of totality in Helen, Georgia. It is hard to believe how much can happen in that short period of time.

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Thanksgiving Karan Powell

The Charlottesville Imperative

Like most Americans, I was both saddened and disturbed by the recent tragedy in Charlottesville. While these events left me feeling aghast and somewhat speechless, I nonetheless felt compelled to write in solidarity with college, university presidents and leaders nationwide, and especially with President Teresa Sullivan and our nearby neighbors at the University of Virginia and greater Charlottesville. The violence and atrocities, including the death of an innocent bystander, are reprehensible. There is no place for hatred and violence of any kind on our campuses or in our communities and, in fact, these actions are contrary to the core values we value and uphold as both educators and as citizens.

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Thanksgiving Karan Powell

What Is the Solution to the High Cost of a College Degree?

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently featured a new venture that will offer free courses for college credit as part of a “freshman year for free” initiative. Last April, the state of New York announced that it would make college “tuition-free” for the middle-class at both two- and four-year colleges. In early August, Rhode Island, in turn, announced free community college. US News and World Report in 2012 reported on 12 colleges who exchange tuition for some sort of service and were cited as “tuition- free” institutions. And lastly, BestColleges.com recently reported the top 10 best colleges with free tuition. 

In a time of increased focus on affordability and completion, the questions that need to be addressed include: Is college really free? Who will pay for it? What is the value of college to students? To society?

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Thanksgiving Karan Powell

What Is the Value of a College Degree Today?

Tis the season for traditional colleges to begin their fall terms. Students across the country and around the world will begin college for the first time. Some will be returning for yet another time, hoping to complete a program of study or degree after time away or following prior, incomplete attempts for personal and/or professional reasons. This consideration notwithstanding, the question remains among those deciding whether or not to attend college: What is the value of a college degree today? In this post and the subsequent one, I will further explore and pose an answer to this question.

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