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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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A fighter jet squadron flies over during the National Anthem before Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas at Olsen Field on Saturday, May 18, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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For the second time in three seasons, No. 3 national seed Texas A&M baseball will host the Bryan-College Station Regional, where it’ll...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Hurricane Ike: College Station welcomes Sea Aggies

Swirling out of the Gulf of Mexico with 110 mph winds and storm surge waves of up to 14 feet, Hurricane Ike swept over the shores of Galveston and surrounding coastlines Sept. 13, 2008, leaving destroyed homes, ravaged business and flooded streets behind and sending one million evacuees out from its path.
Ike’s impact spanned across many facets of Texas A&M in the following months.
Jake Manchaca, a junior human resource development major at the time, had a firsthand experience of the storm’s destruction. Both his father’s and his brother’s houses were damaged in the hurricane.
Inspired by the patriotic sea of colors at the Red, White, and Blue Out game, Manchaca sold BTHO Hurricane Ike shirts to assist devastated areas in Galveston County.
“I wanted to do something here that would one, raise a substantial amount of money, but also something that would make people remember what was going on and the devastation of what had happened,” Manchaca said. “The best way I thought to do that was to give people a visual.”
The $5 shirts generated $35,000 in revenue with profits going toward the Lions Club of San Leon and The Association of Former Students relief program benefiting students from Texas A&M at Galveston.
Texas A&M’s College Station campus opened arms to the A&M-Galveston Sea Aggies in more ways than monetary contributions.
Battered by Ike’s winds and rains, the vast wreckage of the Galveston community led A&M-Galveston to shut its doors for the remaining three months of the fall semester.
Left without a campus, Galveston students were offered the chance to complete the semester at the College Station campus.
Most of the 1,500 relocated Sea Aggies found housing with College Station students in apartments. Some Corps members were housed in the Plaza Hotel & Suites, while others moved into Corps residence halls.
The Quadrangle was dotted with more drills, march-ins were joined with outfits, and places across campus were highlighted with the deep tan Sea Aggie uniforms.
Matt Johnson, an A&M-Galveston Corps of Cadet member and junior maritime engineer at the time, said although the living situation took some time to get used to, he was welcomed in the Aggie family.
“It was a tough time just because of everything that went on, uprooting in the middle of the semester and having two weeks just getting settled in, it was rough. But I think every single Galveston student was thankful for the connection to College Station our campus has and is really thankful for everything that College Station did to help make us feel welcome and get settled and actually have a good semester up there,” Johnson said.
Another effect Ike had on the two campuses, Johnson said, was a renewed connection.
“Over the years that connection had slowly kind of faded and it wasn’t as strong. I think it got a lot stronger that semester,” Johnson said. “After spending a semester up there I definitely feel more of a connection to College Station. Now going up there I feel at home on the campus; it feels like a part of my college experience.”
Galveston cadets weren’t the only one who made College Station’s campus a temporary home.
Five hundred critical care patients from hurricane-devastated areas were moved to Reed Arena, which was transformed into a makeshift hospital, lined with rows of beds and stacks of medical supplies, wound care, bedding and bandages.
Two-hundred-and-fifty public health services crew and student volunteers gave thousands of hours with the patients facilitating eating, changing linens, dressing wounds, administering medicine and caring for psychological needs.
A&M student Matthew May, a senior agricultural leadership and development major at the time, spent 14 days assisting the efforts in Reed, accumulating 160 hours of service.
May said he was one of many students willing to help.
“Some helped an hour and some for hundreds and all of them had a huge far-reaching impact on the situation,” May said.
Spending time with the patients and helping during meal times were the main job of the student volunteers. From engaging in conversations, going on walks, and sharing stories, the morale boosting went a long way.
“I really can’t put it into words. It was phenomenal,” May said. “There were times that just to get a holistic image of everything I would just stop and go up in the stands and watch and it would bring you to tears seeing what was going on and responding in such a way that really changed people’s lives.”

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