Despite the challenges posed to the CSC community from Hurricane Irene, President Wolk’s annual Convocation address was still one of hope and of praise.
The overall message he kept coming back to was “Spartan Pride”.
“We began the new semester with unexpected challenges, which we are surmounting.
But we’ve have also seen great examples of Spartan Pride,” said Wolk.
He went on to reveal pictures of not only the flooding that took place on Sunday afternoon, but images of the morning after.
These images, however, were not all of sheer destruction, but also hopeful images of students, faculty and staff banding together in an effort to salvage the remnants of the football locker room and offices located in the lower regions of the Athletic Complex.
Wolk put particular emphasis on those involved who were not part of the Athletic Department.
“People like Psychology Professor Terry Bergen, music major and student teacher Sam Funk, former Castleton athletic trainer Sue Jean and local teacher Adrienne Weld, who is a proud Castleton alum and a very inspiring woman in her own right, all spent the entire day working tirelessly and diligently. They just showed up and helped. There were many more of
these selfless citizens, and these volunteer efforts serve as a model for all of us,” he said.
Wolk also stressed the efforts of Public Safety
Officer Tom Holland and Assistant Facilities Director Rick Wareing, who both quickly notified students and staff members, who were on the second floor at meeting, at the right time to evacuate.
“Rick and Tom then cleared out and shut down the building just prior to the rapidly rising water level reaching a transformer. The power was turned off, no one was electrocuted, everyone was safe, and people were preserved over things,” said Wolk.
Dean of Students Dennis Proulx was also impressed with the ownership that the students, student athletes, and faculty showed, as well as the overall community response in the wake of damage caused by the storm.
“There has been overwhelming support,” he said in an interview last week. “We shouldn’t consider ourselves victims since our damage is insignificant in comparison to the rest of the Vermont community.”
Commuter students were also immensely affected by the flooding, Proulx said.
“We’ve been working with about 15 students who have been stranded in various places like Mendon, White River Junction, and Killington,” Proulx continued, “and as of Friday many had made it back to campus.”
Although the first half of Convocation was nearly completely devoted to the discussion of Irene, the rest took a tone of sincere gratitude, congratulations, and pride for our small college with a big heart.
Wolk spoke of courteousness, an overwhelming sense of community and the greatness that is Spartan Pride.
“Pride in the small but meaningful gestures we experience every day on our campus, from polite greetings to doors held open to picking up litter to recycling to every day personal interactions characterized by courtesy and respect,” he said.
Also at convocation, Proulx received the Outstanding Alumni Award. In announcing the award, Jennifer Jones, Upward Bound director and vice president of the Alumni Association, said that Dean Proulx had “served the College in many capacities with dedication and his accomplishments are a model for current students and alumni.”
In reaction to his award, Proulx said “I was flabbergasted and humbled to think that people pay attention to the work I do here.
“It’s like what the Wizard of Oz said the Tin Man about his heart, ‘Your heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved.’ It is incredibly to know that my work here is meaningful and worthy of recognition.”