Freshman Danielle Han got the call she never wanted to get four days ago.
As her family evacuated their home near San Marcos, Calif., her parents asked her what they should take from her room. She asked for her diploma and photographs, in addition to some other personal mementos.
“I couldn’t think what I wanted from my room,” Han said.
Han was lucky. Her property was spared from the fire and her father has now returned to her house.
A handful of students and administrators met Wednesday at Strong Hall to console each other and share their experiences about the recent California fires. As of Wednesday evening, the fires destroyed about 674 square miles across five counties in Southern California, according to the Associated Press. Only one person has died.
Lexi Gibbons, a freshman from Los Angeles, said her summer camp was likely destroyed by the fire.
“More of my personality came from the camp,” Gibbons said. “It is where I went to escape.”
Sophomore Hannah Cary, who is from San Diego, said it is difficult not being at home to help her family.
Cary’s mother is helping shelter families with autistic children in their house, which is located near the Qualcomm Stadium.
“It is hard being helpless,” Cary said.
The University Counseling Center is setting up a listserv for students from Southern California who were affected by the fires. University President Steven Knapp said that the University is concerned about its students from the region.
He said, “The hardest part is you know your family is going through something and you are not there.”
This article appeared in the October 25, 2007 issue of the Hatchet.