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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Race 2 Monarch Ready Game Aims to Strengthen Storm Readiness

As recent weather has shown, flooding can disrupt our daily lives. But a group of Old Dominion students and faculty organizations created "Race 2 Monarch Ready," a year-long game to help Monarchs prepare for severe weather events through activities that support risk awareness and assessment, preparedness and, ultimately, resilience.

Often, the message to prepare for flooding or any other severe weather events is passive, said Wie Yusuf, associate professor in the School of Public Service and coordinator of the Old Dominion University Resilience Collaborative, one of the groups supporting the Race 2 Monarch Ready.

"We want to move beyond information towards action," Yusuf said. " The Race 2 Monarch Ready is a way to get information out, but also to incentivize actions that contribute to preparedness and resilience. Action is the important next step."

Participants earn points and can win prizes by completing tasks and taking action, such as buying rain boots or umbrellas; participating in volunteer and service activities that support community resilience; taking selfies or attending related events such as "I Sing the Rising Sea," a musical about sea level rise; using the FEMA Flood Map Service Generator to determine if you live in a flood zone; volunteering; and other tasks available on the Race 2 Ready website. Points are recognized when participants submit evidence of task completion (photo or screen shot, for example) via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by tagging @Race2Ready or using the hashtag #MonarchReady.

The Race 2 Monarch Ready game kicked off September 27 during an event in Webb Center where students in GEOG306T "Hazards: Natural and Technological" provided brochures and handouts targeted at building preparedness. The class, taught by Michael Allen, assistant professor of geography, discusses concepts of social vulnerability and preparedness. Often, in hazards research, responses are reactive instead of proactive and there's a mindset that it can never happen to us, Allen said.

"But once you're stuck or the water is rising, it's too late," he said. "I challenge students to think proactively and plan ahead - whether we're talking about flooding, climate change or emerging diseases, planning ahead reduces vulnerability."

This semester, Allen's students designed preparedness brochures highlighting what should be done ahead of a storm. It's given the students the chance to engage with the ODU community and communicate what they are learning in the classroom, he said.

The kick off event was organized by the ODU Resilience Collaborative, Virginia Sea Grant and the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency, as well as students in the GEOG 306T class, and the MPA Association (MPAA).

Organizers of the event include students in the class "GEOG 306T Hazards: Natural and Technological," taught by Allen, the MPA Association, the ODU Resilience Collaborative, Virginia Sea Grant and the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency.

Sign up online, or get more information, at the Race2Ready website and follow the race on Twitter and Instagram @Race2Ready, and on Facebook at the ODU Resilience Collaborative page.

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