By Jennifer Gauntt
Special to The Item
Former Galveston mayor Lyda Ann Thomas will be one of the featured speakers today at an SHSU forum on “Isaac’s Storm,” Erik Larsen’s book on the nation’s deadliest hurricane, which struck Galveston in 1900.
Thomas, who oversaw Galveston’s recovery from Hurricane Ike, will showcase “Storm Stories from the Heart of Galveston,” at 11 a.m. in the Lowan Student Center Theatre on the Sam Houston State University campus.
Forum presentations are open to the public.
The forum is sponsored by the First-Year Experience Office and will delve into many of the issues and themes related to this year’s “Bearkats Read to Succeed” selection, “Isaac’s Storm,” with a series of lectures today and Wednesday.
The annual book forum “includes a wide range of disciplines designed for relevancy to curriculum and community disaster preparedness,” according to Kay Angrove, FYE director.
“We wanted to explore options that would engage the campus community and the larger local community,” said Kay Angrove, director of the First-Year Experience Office.
Charles Heath, assistant professor of history, and freshman history students will present a historical look at hurricanes, including primary accounts, from 9:30-10:50 a.m. today in LSC Room 304.
“Documenting Hurricane History: Pre-Columbian and Colonial Americas" will include historical journey exploring the indigenous root of the English word “hurricane,” as well as the native and early European experiences with storms.
Thomas’ presentation is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in the LSC Theatre. Her extensive knowledge and first-hand experience in crisis management and disaster recovery is unique in that her grandfather led the recovery after the 1900 storm, Angrove said.
From 2 to 3:20 p.m. Charles Sturrock, SHSU director for environmental health, safety and risk management, will lead a discussion on “Emergency Preparedness on the SHSU Campus,” including campus protocol on safety, security and intelligence; communications; public information; student welfare; operations; finance and administration; and logistics. His lecture will be held in LSC Room 315.
Fox 26 meteorologist and SHSU alumnus John Dawson, who produces the FOXRAD Hurricane Briefing multimedia preparedness resource throughout the hurricane season, will discuss “The Role of the Media in Disaster Preparedness” from 3:30-4:50 p.m. in LSC Room 315.
Today’s events end with performance by the “No Foolin’ String Band” as anchor of the “Celebrating Texas Music Open Mic Night” from 7 to 9 p.m. in the LSC Kat Klub. During the event, students can showcase their talents by performing their favorite Texas music on their acoustic instrument.
Wednesday’s activities will kick off from at 9 a.m. in LSC Room 302 when Bill Bridges will present a creative writing workshop that will allow students to learn how the nonfiction genre examines real people, places and events through new perspectives.
Associate professor of sociology Lee Miller will explain “What Disasters Teach Us” from 10 to 10:50 a.m. in LSC Room 315.
From 11 to 11:50 a.m., assistant professor of political science Jason Enia will examine “Peace from Ruins — Disasters, Diplomacy and Dogged Foreign Policies” in the LSC Theater.
“Since 1999, almost every natural disaster that has occurred within a zone of conflict or within a country that has adversarial international relationships has been followed by expressions of hope that some diplomatic good might come out of the tragedy,” Enia said. “An outpouring of sympathy will lead to spillovers of diplomatic goodwill the argument goes.”
Enia’s presentation will examine if this is this actually the case.
Jessica Debalski, American Red Cross field services manager for emergency services, will show students how to be prepared for disasters and how to inform others within the community during two presentations.
The “Preparing Others for Disaster” workshop will be held from 1 to 1:50 p.m., and again from 2 to 2:50 p.m., in LSC Room 315.
Saundra Brown, managing attorney of the disaster response unit for Lone Star Legal Aid, will give the final presentation, “The Ike Effect: A View from the Ground,” from 3 to 3:50 p.m. in LSC Room 315.