Hurricane prep essentials: living through the storm in a dorm

Everything you need to know to prepare for a hurricane as a college student.


Wilson Lawn photographed with stormy weather on the horizon. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Blythe Bouza, Staff Writer

While some may think of August and September as back-to-school season, if you live near the Gulf of Mexico, you know it’s prime hurricane season. With Hurricane Ida already making landfall in Louisiana, we’ve got mere hours until Nashville will be hit with heavy rains and strong winds Monday night into Tuesday as part of the impending tropical storm/depression.

As a New Orleans native, I find it fitting that I share my hurricane preparedness essentials—even though we shouldn’t expect worse than some heavy rain Monday night into Tuesday. But in the event things get too hectic, here’s a brief list of what every Vandy student should do to prepare for Ida’s arrival:

Do your laundry.

In case of a power outage, make sure to do your laundry (or pick your bags up from the Tide truck) early this week.

Take advantage of Munchie Marts.

You never know how long those dining hall lines can get, so use your Commodore Cash to pick up some essentials from the nearby campus Munchie Marts. Some great nonperishables are protein/granola bars, cereal cups, peanut butter crackers, and premade popcorn

Buy a flashlight or headlamp.

This one is pretty self explanatory. In case of a power outage or other emergency, having one of these (or both) is ideal. I don’t think anyone wants to try to manage the communal bathrooms in the dark.

Invest in portable chargers.

If you don’t have some already, buy a portable charger (or a few) and juice those up as early as possible. You never know when they’ll come in handy. Make sure to keep your phone as fully charged as possible as well.

Make sure all of your toiletries are stocked.

I doubt anyone is running out of toothpaste this early into the year, but make sure you have everything you need in that department. The pandemic showed us how quickly random things will run out in stores.

Invest in raingear.

No one wants to have a miserable walk across campus in the rain, especially first-years trekking all the way from Commons. Whether you choose a raincoat, an umbrella, a poncho, rain boots or all of the above, make sure you have something to protect yourself.

Check your batteries.

You always think you have every kind of battery until you actually need them. Check to see what kinds of batteries your flashlights, fans and other devices use. Even if you don’t need them for the storm, they’re always good to have on hand.

Offer support.

If you have family and friends being affected by the storm, be sure to check in and offer support if they need it. Although cell service may be out in some areas, a lot of people are still reachable by landline. Facebook also allows users to mark themselves “safe” in the storm, which can be a great resource.

Stay informed.

Consider downloading a hurricane tracker app to stay updated on the storm’s path: Storm Tracker, My Hurricane Tracker, Radar Live Pro.

Hopefully, this list will help guide you through the uncertain waters of hurricane season (and the coming semester). Stay safe and anchor down!