Resilience in the Face of the Flood
Apr 11, 2011Another year. Another flood. How does the Fargo-Moorhead community bounce back year after year?
Dr. Susan Cordes-Green and her Disaster Psychology Research Team hope to find out. They have been trying to recruit 1,000 flood volunteers to take a survey on community resilience.
Their participation in the research began when the trauma and disaster center at the Oklahoma University medical school contacted a local community resilience organization to see if it would be possible to conduct a study on the Fargo-Moorhead community. Their choice did not surprise Cordes-Green.
“They want to study the F-M area because we have a national reputation as communities that are particularly good at dealing with floods,” she says.
It is natural for Concordia’s Disaster Psychology Team to be involved with the research – its members have been studying disaster volunteers for several years. One of the student researchers, Alexa Dewey ’11, Moorhead, is finishing her senior capstone project on how volunteering affects sense of community among college students.
Dewey has noted that students acquire a greater sense of community through volunteering. Another research volunteer, Christopher Meller ’11, St. Cloud, Minn., has come to similar conclusions after flood fighting.
“People change their view of community and the world from the experience,” Meller says.
The Oklahoma University researchers will use their discoveries to design programs for other communities to promote resilience. The Fargo-Moorhead community has set an unprecedented example.
“Few cities have demonstrated the capacity to deal with disasters in the way that the F-M area has,” says Cordes-Green.