Universities and colleges, at their core, provide students with an opportunity to expand their thinking, gain practical skills and grow personally and professionally through a structured series of experiences. Yet, disasters can interrupt traditional place-based education and prove to be intractable policy problems. The challenges of developing robust plans and drilling them extensively – key elements of building resilient campuses – seems most pronounced among smaller college and university campuses. This paper describes how three small to moderately-sized higher education institutions in Whatcom County, Washington – a technical college, a community college and a regional university – formed the Resilient Bellingham Consortium to support each other in better preparing for emergencies and enhancing their resilience to campus-based disaster events, despite limited resources. Internally, all three institutions struggled to find the capacity to do emergency drilling. Unique campus cultures enhanced or detracted from emergency planning, but all three assessed their planning as inadequate. The formation of the Consortium allowed for a more efficient strategy and better exploration of resilience in the context of smaller institutions. Together the institutions built common templates, hired joint staff and created a suit of joint exercises appropriate for their small size and campus-specific needs. In the process, they shared perspective, and ultimately resources, and developed strategies for improving preparedness on small campuses through sharing strategies and leveraging resources.
Green, Rebekah, "Strategies for Smaller Campuses: Lessons on Campus Planning for a Higher Education Consortium" (2013). DRU Workshop 2013 Presentations – Disaster Resistant University Workshop: Linking Mitigation and Resilience. Paper 14.