Natural Disasters

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and wildfires can severely damage and affect the communities that many of our students come from. In order to best support our students, it is critical to remain aware of such catastrophes.

It is important to note that some students may have difficulty focusing in class if their families or local communities have been impacted by a natural disaster. They may become distracted by thoughts and concerns about their safety and security, family wellbeing, financial distress, or the loss of homes and belongings.

If you discover that a student has been affected by a natural disaster:

  • Be empathetic, listen to everything they have to say and how they are feeling.
  • Validate their feelings but do not tell them that you know how they are feeling or that everything will be alright.
  • Offer support, but be specific in the ways in which you can help them.

Campus Referrals

If a student has experienced a natural disaster, please offer your support by reviewing the resources listed below and referring them to the following on-campus resources.

805-756-2511 (24/7 Crisis Line)

Offers a variety of confidential support services including therapy, emotional wellbeing workshops and preventative education.


Serves as a resource to help students resolve university-related issues and concerns to help them obtain their degrees. The office ensures student success by facilitating referrals, support and advocacy through nonclinical interventions. It also provides follow-up services in collaboration with other university departments or individuals, community agencies, parents or guardians, and stakeholders in the students’ success. 

Additional Resources

American Red Cross

Assisting Emotionally Distressed Students

Cal Poly Cares

California Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance

California Wildfire Relief Fund

California Wildfires Statewide Recovery Resources

Coping with Traumatic Events

Dean on Call

How to Help Someone After a Natural Disaster

How to Talk About Tragedy

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Recovering From a Natural Disaster in College

Red Folder: Assisting Students in Distress

Talking to Someone Affected by a Natural Disaster

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