“When a disaster occurs, nothing is ever as it was before. It’s not possible because everything changes in that split second,” says UW-Green Bay Prof. Lucy Arendt, a business management professor whose research focuses on how people and organizations make decisions around disasters.
“An extreme event is a particular example of a dramatic, revolutionary change in a community,” Arendt says.
Arendt’s research has taken her to the Gulf Coast to see the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and to New Zealand to witness the damage from a massive earthquake.
She will share her expertise in a talk titled, “In the Face of Disaster, How Resilient is Our Community?” as part of the After Thoughts series from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, in the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts foyer.
Her presentation is particularly timely because of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
“What we’re seeing in the world right now, we have examples of some very extreme disasters, really outlier disasters, things that you wouldn’t expect to happen or probabilistically they don’t happen very often,” Arendt said.
According to Arendt, community recovery depends on the pre-existing economy, the availability and trustworthiness of government services, and the community’s social-cultural capital.
“I think for a lot of people they have questions. Could something like that happen to us? How would we cope with that?” Arendt said. “There are a lot of questions that I think people will then sort of personalize, what if something happened to Green Bay, what kinds of things could happen in Green Bay, how would we deal with that. So I think it’s really very relevant, especially now. It’s on everybody’s mind.”
The After Thoughts series is designed to connect community women with UW-Green Bay, showcase UW-Green Bay’s faculty and staff, convene women after their workday for learning, enrichment and fun, and provide “After Thoughts” for women to take with them when they leave. Cost is $11 for hors d’oeuvres and the program.
Registration in advance is preferred for one or both programs by sending a check payable to UW-Green Bay. Mail to: UW-Green Bay Advancement, CL 805, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311. Walk-up registration is an option. Call (920) 465-2074 for more information.