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The Disaster Resistant University program was initiated by FEMA during the Clinton administration. It eventually lost funding, but has been continued by several institutions of higher learning (IHLs) because they found that the program provided a practical common sense approach to disaster planning and mitigation.

Recently, the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI) has begun an initiative to help

IHLs go beyond resistance to resilience. No matter how resistant an institution is, it will eventually have to respond to and recover from an unexpected crisis – a lone gunman, an epidemic, an athletic scandal, or a natural disaster that exceeds its resources. Sometimes, the IHL will be caught in the cascading impacts of a crisis that strikes its neighboring community.

CARRI has developed a Community Resilience System (CRS) to help communities enhance their resilience. At FEMA’s request, CARRI is adapting its CRS to help IHLs to become more resilient. At its heart, the CRS (like the Disaster Resistant University program) is rooted in a Whole Community approach – looking at all of an IHL’s stakeholders. CARRI’s campus resilience system will extend the successful framework of the DRU program by:

  • · Looking beyond continuity of operations toward rapid and complete recovery of the institution.
  • · Considering a wider range of risks.
  • · Developing deeper partnerships with its stakeholders so that, if necessary, they can be more rapidly mobilized to assist in recovery.

The essence of resilience is being able to rapidly recover from adversity without lasting harm; that is the goal of the campus resilience system.