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UNG hosts Savannah State University football program as Irma strikes Georgia

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UNG welcomes Savannah State University Athletics to the Dahlonega Campus as a safe haven during Hurricane Irma.

The University of North Georgia (UNG) served as a safe haven from Hurricane Irma for members of the Savannah State University football program this week.

Football players, coaches, trainers, two public safety officers, and two bus drivers from Savannah State arrived on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus a day after their Sept. 9 game against Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. More than 100 team members stayed on the Dahlonega Campus at least through Tuesday, Sept. 12, as Irma, classified as a Tropical Storm on Monday, swept across Florida and Georgia.

UNG’s five campuses were closed on Monday and Tuesday because of the forecast possibility of severe weather associated with Irma. On the Dahlonega Campus, residence halls and the dining hall remained open to serve the residential students, including the contingent from Savannah State.

Soon after the team’s arrival on Sunday, defensive back Anthony Hunt, a senior from Jacksonville, Florida, majoring in homeland security and emergency management, showed his appreciation via social media.

"The University of North Georgia is showing great hospitality already," Hunt said via Twitter. "We really appreciate it!"

The men are staying in Lewis Annex, a traditional residence hall that was not housing students because of planned renovations.

"The renovation had not yet begun, which made it available to assist these student-athletes," said Alyson Paul, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean of students on the Dahlonega Campus.

The female trainers with the football program are staying in Patriot Hall, which is part of UNG's military village, said Treva Smith, UNG residence life director. She said a few rooms in the residence hall are reserved for international cadets who are visiting UNG.

Before the team's arrival, UNG personnel ensured Lewis Annex was ready for its visitors.

"We made sure the Wi-Fi was up and running and the building was cleaned out," Smith said, adding Georgia State University supplied the bedding. "We didn't have 100 bedsheets on hand, but Georgia State provided the extra-long twin sheets."

Card Services supplied the team coded cards to access the residence halls, the individual rooms and the dining hall.

While the team remains on campus, UNG and its food services will provide meals in the dining hall. The UNG Athletic Department is scheduling time for football players to use the weight room in Memorial Hall. The team also will be able to use the laundry facilities to wash its uniforms and clothes.

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