The State Hornet

OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday

Sac State students need to remember the real reason campus is closed

Back to Article
Back to Article

OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday

I cried tears while driving past the Paradise junction on my way through Oroville. All roads to Paradise and Magalia are completely blocked while emergency personnel work through the aftermath of the Camp Fire.

I cried tears while driving past the Paradise junction on my way through Oroville. All roads to Paradise and Magalia are completely blocked while emergency personnel work through the aftermath of the Camp Fire.

Jordyn Dollarhide - The State Hornet

I cried tears while driving past the Paradise junction on my way through Oroville. All roads to Paradise and Magalia are completely blocked while emergency personnel work through the aftermath of the Camp Fire.

Jordyn Dollarhide - The State Hornet

Jordyn Dollarhide - The State Hornet

I cried tears while driving past the Paradise junction on my way through Oroville. All roads to Paradise and Magalia are completely blocked while emergency personnel work through the aftermath of the Camp Fire.

Jordyn Dollarhide, Marketing manager

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

I have had enough of watching Sacramento State students celebrate the campus closure due to the poor air quality created by smoke carried from the Camp Fire.

I understand how exciting it must be that you get an extra two days to study for that exam you weren’t prepared for. Or maybe the “day off” is your chance to get a break from your least favorite professor.

But this “campus holiday” is no excuse for you to celebrate with a smile on your face and hit your favorite bar for some day drinking.

Why do I care so much? Because I grew up in Chico.

Story continues below tweet

Half of my friends are now homeless, most of whom were forced to run from their cars because the flames began to melt their tires. Countless grandparents from families I have known for years are missing and in danger.

Bodies are being discovered every day and each time that a press conference is aired, I’m praying the death count isn’t higher. But so far, it has been each time.

RELATED: Nearby Camp Fire prompts closures, other actions from Sac State

I can still remember eating at the Black Bear Diner in Paradise after my softball tournaments and driving up Skyway to get tires from Les Schwab when I worked for my dad as my first job at 16 years old. I recorded my first CD with a producer named Gene, who lived right off of the main road. His home is gone now.

I don’t care if you are happy that school is canceled. The only reason your classes are dismissed is because thousands of my fellow community members are now homeless and forced to rebuild their lives from the ground up while living in the Chico Walmart parking lot.

How do you rebuild when your town was nearly leveled? It’s a question I have thought about every day following the start of the fire, which is now the most deadly in California’s history.

Story continues below tweet

If the numbers from the Camp Fire isn’t enough, the fact that even Sac State — which is roughly 90 miles away from Paradise — is closed due to poor air quality is proof enough of how devastating this wildfire is. The smoke comes from almost 200 square miles of land and 7,000 structures that have burned, and it has reached all the way to the city of Santa Cruz.

And people are celebrating school being canceled.

This past weekend, I left work early on Friday. I couldn’t stand it. I flew down Interstate 5 until the smoke was so thick it looked like the dead of night. I threw the one outfit I packed into my spare room inside my parent’s house in the Chico Orchards and drove to the nearest volunteer organization. The rest of my time I spent with evacuees and sheltered animals found during the Camp Fire.

On top of the hundreds of dogs, cats, chickens and even goats I cared for, there was one image that has stuck with me.

The Chico Elks Lodge evacuation center was a dark room full of cots and some of the tens of thousands of people affected by evacuations. I entered that room pretty frequently during my 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. shift to grab coffee. Each time I entered, I saw the same man.

He was sitting up in his cot in the middle of the room, feet flat on the floor, elbows on his knees, staring at the same spot on the wall. There was no way he was younger than 70 years old. Every time I would go in, he was there, in the same position.

Even in the dark I could see the emptiness in his face. He didn’t have to tell me that he lost everything, I already knew. I will never forget that image.

Today, I want you to remember that man. Remember the images of Paradise and Magalia that you have seen. Remember the estimated 50,000 people who have been displaced by the Camp Fire. Remember the animals in the evacuation shelters that have not been claimed by their owners.

Remember the real reason Sac State’s campus has been closed.

Even better, if you are free on the weekends and feel inclined to volunteer, Chico is in need of volunteers for the animal shelters, evacuation centers and donation stations throughout the city. Volunteer applications can be filled out on the Caring Choices website.

If you are unable to get to Chico and want to help out from Sacramento [or any other city,] evacuees are more in need of monetary donations rather than supplies. There is a GoFundMe set up for Camp Fire victims that goes directly to the families affected. Take today to think of those who are affected.

Celebrations should be saved for another time.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

12 Responses to “OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday”

  1. Alexandre Tran on November 13th, 2018 9:27 pm

    Instead of using your platform to generalize and attack the students who are “celebrating” the fact the campus is being, try informing the audience about the situation. Yes, its disgusting how some people see it as a joke, but there are a majotity of students who have classes, exams, projects, etc. to turn in and prioritize as well.

    Might I also suggest writing an article that is relevant, instead of trying to demoize people and referring it to a “Campus Holiday”? This article is simply gerrymandrring and mainly reminiscing about what the author grew up with. I am sure many students are aware of the situation and many possibly have family in the area as well. So please refrain from generalizing the student population as a whole.

  2. Sherry on November 14th, 2018 12:21 pm

    Dear Jordyn,

    Your article doesn’t mention the students at Sacramento State such as myself that have been in pure disbelief of the tradegy that has occurred near our home. I’ve had a professor talk about a test daily since the closures when people are dying. Many of us are very devastated and not out partying. Many of us don’t have the funds to go out to party. Please keep this in mind before you attack a school and it’s students as a whole. At this point understanding, helping as much as one can and healing should be the only actions taken by anyone not any judgements. There isn’t any time for that.



  3. Smile on November 14th, 2018 1:21 pm

    They can be happy if they want to, its not their fault the fires happened. They dont have to be happy BECAUSE people lost theirs homes, but they can be happy because they dont have to be at school.

    Thats like being happy because its a snow day but people died because of an avalanche. You cant be happy youre out of school just because people died?

  4. Edward on November 14th, 2018 3:02 pm

    I totally understand what you are talking about, and it definitely hurts when it is something that personally affects you. But to tell others how to feel, isn’t the way to go about it. I was a fresh adult when 9/11 happened and while many people from all over the country, hell, all over the world were pouring support on us as Americans, all I could think of was “am I supposed to go to work today, since I am a government worker?”

    It didn’t personally affect me, and even though I kept reading the news, it didn’t make it anything more than “that really blows, but it happened over there”.

    The only difference with this fire for me is I can smell/breathe the devastation, but I also don’t have a personal connection to anyone in Paradise or the surrounding area. All I can say is “that really blows, but it happened over there. And I can use this time to finally unwind a bit since I get zero days off with work and school being literally every day.”

    If I knew someone personally or I had a personal stake in this fire (like if it was creeping into Sacramento for example), then maybe things would be different. But prior to this specific fire, did you feel the same thing when the fire was to our west? Or when it was going through Redding? What about the fire destroying historic landmarks down in Los Angeles?

    You need to focus on this fire because you have a connection with it, and for that I don’t think anyone would take issue with it. If my neighborhood caught fire and it closed the local high school and middle school due to smoke and the kids celebrated having a day off, I am sure I would be upset and feel to some level they are celebrating my misery, but on another level I would understand that to them, it’s just a day off school.

  5. Rami on November 14th, 2018 6:27 pm

    I totally agree with you on the fact that there is some people who are “celebrating” that the school is cancelled, but do not forget that there are other people who are also worried about those in Paradise and others who are affected by the smoke.

  6. John Do on November 14th, 2018 7:05 pm

    Going by your logic we should never celebrate anything and never be happy because something sad is going on in the world 24/7 if you didn’t know.

  7. Chris on November 14th, 2018 7:53 pm

    Don’t demonize us. We aren’t all the same. We all don’t have a connection to Paradise. We regret what happened and we have to move on.

  8. Elizabeth on November 14th, 2018 8:23 pm

    Last October I went to visit my family for a weekend in the North Bay. My plan was to head back to Sacramento Monday morning so I could make it to my afternoon classes. That plan ended when my aunt and uncle called to tell us they had to evacuate their home in Santa Rosa and they were pretty sure it was gone. That Monday morning all the highways around my hometown were closed and the sky was bright orange. My community was experiencing what yours is experiencing now. My aunt and uncle lost their home and escaped with only their pets and the clothes they had on. Everything happened so fast that it was hard to process. My hometown, which is a little bit south of Santa Rosa and west of Sonoma and Napa, became an evacuation city and I watched families pour into my high school gym. Every school and almost every business around us was closed. My school and work were in Sacramento so on Tuesday I reluctantly drove back north and out of the smoke. Sacramento was clear and everyone was going about their day like normal. I felt helpless and beyond frustrated. My community was on fire but I had to sit in a desk and take midterms and I had to pretend to be happy in front of customers at work. I couldn’t understand why the people around me weren’t as scared or devastated as I was when 90 miles away entire neighborhoods were gone and thousands of people were suddenly homeless. If Sac State would have closed I would have cheered because that meant I got to to go home to my family and help my community. That unfortunately wasn’t reality. What I learned during the North Bay fires is that everyone handles tragedy in different ways. Some volunteer and do everything they can to help. Some spend the days inside hiding from the smoke to study for that postponed test. Some go out and surround themselves with friends. Sometimes until you drive through the places you know so well and see nothing but smoldered cars and ash you can’t truly fathom the heartbreak. Rebuilding is a long and difficult process but the generosity of people near and far have reminded me that even in devastation there is something to be grateful for. The love in the air is always thicker than the smoke. My thoughts are with you and your community.

  9. Dan on November 14th, 2018 11:40 pm

    Who exactly was celebrating? Entitled students in the dorms? I think there are around 30,000 students at Sac State and I can only speak for myself, a native Californian, but I’m not only horrified by the loss of life and property and I know some undergraduate students are stressed out that campus is closed. We are less than three weeks from the end of the semester and finals. Who authorized this article? It is narrow minded and stereotypes all Hornets when I seriously doubt that to be true. It would be like me saying that the editors of The State Hornet are all unfit to publish anything because they published this article. I am fortunate to be a Graduate student and have completed the majority of my work for the semester, so I have time to go volunteer. Most of us do not. This offends me.

  10. Pat on November 15th, 2018 9:51 am

    Good grief, you win, you’re the most virtuous of all! You win the Sac State virtue award. I mean, hell, you grew up in Chico and there’s a fire in Paradise, so of course you win. You know people that are homeless now and you fought for them in such a courageous way. Well done, well done. Now you’ll be able to prove to the world for all eternity just how compassionate and caring you are. This is all so mighty progressive of you.

    I’m just curious, where were these mysterious Sac State revelers? Where were these closure parties? These student celebrations? Let me guess, there are none. And no, those 7 tweets from random people saying “I am so glad campus is closed” that you just found don’t count.

    The truth is you just made all this BS up because you thought it was a “clever” way to climb up onto your moral soapbox so that you could preach at the rest of us. Not only was it annoying and predictable, but it was sloppy and unoriginal. But hey, who really cares about all that…because you got to prove how virtuous and progressive you are.

  11. Sylvia on November 15th, 2018 5:24 pm

    Although it is a very heartbreaking and unfortunate event for the victims of the fire, you can’t just generalize every Sacramento State student. This opinion post is very ignorant and should not even have been posted. Instead of what you just did, you should have informed everyone and students of the fire regarding who was affected, any relevant information on it, what’s going on now and how the community can come together to help. Thank you!

  12. Gaby on November 17th, 2018 5:23 am

    I am extremely sorry for what your community lost in the fire. I cannot imagine returning to my home town and seeing it gone, with the people I grew up with missing. It is devistating. I have been keeping up with news and updates about the Camp Fire as often as I can everyday. However, I feel offended about what you said. I don’t believe it was necessary to post a whole article making an assumption about the 31,000 students that attend Sac State. No one is celebrating the Camp Fire. My fellow classmates, friends, and coworkers that go to Sac State are heart broken. This tradgedy is hitting close to home for a lot of us. I hope you rethink your opinion on Sac State students. The opinion of a few does not speak for the majority of us. Happy holidays.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Left
  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Sac State baseball team finishes regular season with 33-22 record

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    West Sacramento mayor takes over second Sac State endowed chair

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Alumnus, rapper Consci8us talks SAMMIES, career, philosophy, future

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    CSU vaccine policies set to tighten up amid measles outbreaks

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Sac State students weigh in on allergy season

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Q&A: Track and field athlete, Khala Clarke, spends her free time blogging

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Sac State softball pitcher throws first no-hitter in Big Sky Conference championship history

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Hornets complete comeback with 4-3 win over Wolf Pack

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Sac State’s Muslim Student Association keeps faith amid stigmas, finals

  • OPINION: 50,000 displaced for your campus holiday


    Drone drops flyers with swastikas over Sacramento State bridge dinner

Navigate Right