Written By: Kim Stuart
On Thursday March 28, the JMU community was shaken to its core as a five-alarm structural fire broke out at the Southview Apartment Complex. While the Harrisonburg Fire and Police Departments were quick to arrive, the flames destroyed several apartments within the complex. All residents of the affected areas have been accounted for and no injuries have been reported.
Once news of this horrific event broke to the public, members of the JMU community rose to the occasion and proved that Dukes stick together. Senior hospitality major Courtney Brogna generously started a GoFundMe to support those affected by the fire. Within eight hours, over 2,000 people helped raise $66,153, over $18,153 more than the original $48,000 goal. Several organizations across campus including SGA, Women of Color, and Student Activities and Involvement are collecting donations of clothes, toiletries, and non-perishable foods. These donation bins can be found on the Quad and within Madison Union. There are also several areas to donate off-campus, including 865 East Lobby, the Clubhouses of Northview, Stonegate, Southview, and Rocktown Realty. If you have the means, please donate to help the Dukes who have been affected the most.
JMU’s resources for those affected by the fire will be primarily located on the third floor of the Student Success Center. To those students who lost their homes, JMU has provided the option of on campus living, as well as resources to help with recovering after the fire. Students experiencing psychological distress due to the traumatic events are encouraged to visit the Counseling Center for support.
We would like to thank the members of the Harrisonburg Fire Department, Salvation Army and Red Cross for their support on the scene of the fire, as well as members from JMU, Harrisonburg, and the surrounding area who offered immense support, both in helping the victims and spreading the word of fundraising efforts. The relief effort could not have been as effective without the aid provided from across the community. In times of tragedy, it is hard to find glimpses of hope. The overwhelming amount of community support has proved that together, we can accomplish more than we could ever hope to individually. When anguish hits strangers, it is easier to look away and pretend that there is nothing that we can do. However, no one is a stranger at JMU. We are all Dukes. And Dukes support Dukes.