UWF prepares to support Hurricane Irma recovery effort

As Hurricane Irma impacts the Florida Peninsula, the University of West Florida is preparing to provide support to its students, faculty, staff, alumni, as well as Florida institutions and all Floridians. The current path of the storm is expected to remain east of the local area, and the University is fully engaged to provide assistance in the recovery effort.

UWF is actively working to prepare staging areas for disaster response teams and  shelters, and to accommodate staff from other institutions for continuity of operations.

“The UWF family stands ready to assist our fellow Floridians in any way we can,” said UWF President Martha Saunders. “Students, faculty, staff and alumni have volunteered to staff the shelters. Many of the student volunteers are from Central and South Florida and are waiting to hear from their own families. I am very proud of them.”

Saturday, Sept. 9, more than 70 UWF students signed up as American Red Cross shelter volunteers. The students represent a variety of student groups such as  the Student Government Association and Fraternity and Sorority Life. Several UWF staff and alumni joined the volunteer efforts.

“Students at UWF have always had a culture of giving back to the community,” said Kishane Patel, UWF Student Body President. “We, as a student body, are ready to help in all ways possible to aid those in need. We stand together during tough times like this and will show that through our efforts. We thank our university administration and  community partners for working together for the best interest of the community.”

On Thursday, Sept. 7, UWF announced all locations will be closed Sept. 8-11 after Florida Gov. Rick Scott directed all public K-12 schools, state colleges, state universities and state offices to close to ensure the state has every space available for sheltering and staging. All University activities and events, including all home athletic events, were canceled.

UWF is ensuring that support measures are in place for students during the University closure. Students will continue to have access to residence halls; the Nautilus Market dining hall; the Health, Leisure and Sports Facility; and the Aquatic Center. The University also focused on ensuring continued critical operations throughout the closure, including students receiving financial aid refunds as scheduled on Friday, Sept. 8.

The University encourages students, faculty and staff to stay vigilant and learn more about storm preparedness online at

For more UWF information related to Hurricane Irma, visit