Our UCF community is known for our culture of care and compassion, and that spirit will be important as we come together and recover from the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Our hearts are with all the people, including members of our UCF family and those across the state, who have experienced incredible losses due to the storm. Melinda and I extend our thoughts to these Knights and their loved ones and ask that our faculty and supervisors provide flexibility to those directly impacted by the storm as we reopen in the coming week. The impact is widespread, and we know the recovery will take time.

We know that the impact across our communities is disparate, and we are thankful that many areas have regained power and are recovering from the storm. We are also grateful for the dedication and professionalism shown by the teams across UCF who prepared our campuses to weather the storm and who have supported our students, faculty and staff throughout — you have our community’s deepest gratitude.

As the university returns to normal operations, we must extend compassion to the students, faculty and staff who have suffered significant and, in some cases, catastrophic losses. That includes being flexible about academic and professional expectations as these members of our community continue to navigate the storm’s impact to their lives.

We ask that students impacted by the storm with outstanding needs contact Student Care Services by filling out this form or emailing CareManager@ucf.edu. UCF staff will continue to contact these students individually to provide resources and support as they navigate their recovery. All students also are encouraged to contact Counseling and Psychological Services’ crisis line at 407-823-2811 and press 5 if they need to speak with a therapist.

We ask that faculty and staff directly impacted by the storm communicate directly with their supervisors regarding their ability to return to work. Additional information will be communicated by Human Resources to employees and supervisors over the weekend.

For those who are looking to provide assistance, one immediate way is to donate any food and water you may have purchased for the storm and no longer need. You can drop off items at the Knights Pantry in Ferrell Commons and at donation bins set up across campus, which can be found under “Maps” in the UCF Mobile App.

I appreciate how Knights are known for lifting one another up in times of need. Our UCF community deeply cares for and supports each other, and those values must guide us in the coming weeks.