ODU Students Help Lay Groundwork for Recover Hampton Roads


Photo Courtesy of Downtown Norfolk Council

By Hannah Smith, Technology Editor

Originally published August 25, 2021.


Old Dominion University (ODU) is joining the Hampton Roads Community Foundation to minimize the effects from hurricane damage and flooding within susceptible communities in the Hampton Roads region. This past spring, ODU was awarded a five-year, $500,00 grant from the foundation to establish Recover Hampton Roads (RHR), an organization created to aid in housing repairs, and flooding recovery.


The researchers from ODU that will represent the organization include Joshua G. Behr, research associate professor at the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Research Center (VMASC) and Rafael Diaz. Seeing as this organization is in its infancy, more outreach and vocalization is needed to bridge relations into the community.


This past spring, students were given the opportunity to take a strategic campaign class. This class gave students the drive to lead the way while learning. Students did this by establishing stakeholders for the organization and created the RHR’s first digital footprint online. Classes like this are becoming more common on ODU’s campus in the hopes of integrating students and the local community. Service-learning is a style of teaching that mutually benefits both parties involved based on the experience provided. This could be the first of many ventures where students take the lead in the skills they are learning in their classes.


As hurricane season approaches, Recover Hampton Roads is planning for the heavy season ahead. This marks a first step in the right direction towards providing for the surrounding vulnerable communities in times of flooding. In addition, to providing aid when needed, Recover Hampton Roads is committed to researching and setting tools in place for a long-term recovery as well.