Today was Family Day at NDSU. Families of NDSU students were welcomed to campus to participate in a number of activities with their NDSU student. The Department of Emergency Management had a couple of tables filled with lots of free emergency management “stuff” and of course our preparedness icons – the rubber ducks. I have to tell you, FEMA materials – no matter the volume or ultimate utility – never generate as much excitement as the ducks.
We started with the ducks six or seven years ago. They are part of an assignment in my Disaster Preparedness class. Students are tasked with making preparedness public service announcements (PSAs) with them. The students’ PSAs are then shown at the annual Preparedness Expo (November 15th this year) and the ducks are handed out as takeaways to remind participants of the key message:
You can’t duck the facts.
Get your ducks in a row.
Simple idea – a little goofy, but memorable. We decided to bring our duck message to Family Day with us and not surprisingly they received the same level of love and attention they always do. Everyone loves the ducks.
If you travel about the NDSU campus you will see the ducks peppered throughout offices. Some folks attend the Expo annually and have added a duck each year to their collection. Each year we try and order some new variations to add to our old standards. I can say as someone who has a fair number of ducks in residence in her office that they are fairly addicting.
So the ducks were a hit as usual, but an even bigger hit in my mind were the students who came out to help me today. I watched and listened as they engaged folks in discussion and encouraged them to be better prepared to deal with emergencies and disasters. I made my heart happy to watch them in action. It reminds me how fortunate I am to do the job I do. To walk with students on the path that will lead them to a long and meaningful career is exciting and fulfilling.
Family Day at NDSU was a great success and I look forward to participating again next year – me, my bright and shiny students, and the ducks.
One thousand one hundred and ninety-five of the new forty – obla di obla da