Disaster gives Southern chance to rebuild image


It’s interesting the way tragedy can bring people together.

When we left for the summer in early May, the campus seemed to be in turmoil. For whatever reason, every piece of news that seemed to come out of the University leaned more and more to the negative as the weeks went on.

Around every corner, someone was pointing a finger at someone else. It was this person’s fault a teacher with a criminal record was hired. It was that person’s fault another teacher was fired.

The in-fighting got to a point where it seemed that’s all we did here at Southern.

On May 22, that changed.

That evening, after an EF-5 tornado gashed the city of Joplin, amazing things started to happen in this community and, more specifically, all over this campus.

A triage center was set up in the Health Sciences Building to treat the injured.

A shelter was designated at Leggett & Platt Athletic Center to house those with no homes.

Donations poured into a tornado relief fund designed to help students, faculty and staff with expenses and items lost due to the devastation.

Here we are now, a little over three months later. Missouri Southern, just like Joplin, is at a point where we can start anew.

If ever there was a time that we could look to put all the bickering in the past, this is it. Just the way the people of Joplin have set aside various differences and come together to support one another, so should those of us on campus.

While the city around us rebuilds essentially from the ground up, we can start our rebuilding process as well.

We may not be rebuilding our infrastructure, but we can certainly rebuild our image.

That process started when, in the days after the storm, faculty, staff and administrators rallied together to ensure this campus became a safe haven for those who needed it.

The University did this to help the community in the months after the tornado changed all of our lives, and we’re sure Joplin will repay the favor with its support.

Our duty isn’t done, though. Because the citizens of this fine city are finally getting back to their normal lives doesn’t mean we’re done.

It’s important that we come together as a unit to continue that mission of helping the community.

In order to do that, we must now leave the past behind and push forward to a brighter future.

If May 22 taught us anything, it’s that life is far too short. Let’s cut out the in-fighting and perceived deception and rally around a common cause like the example our community has laid out for us.

This University is a great place full of even better people, and it’s time we started acting like it.

Missouri Southern, just like Joplin, has an opportunity to take the next step. Let’s take it together.