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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Education on a shaky foundation: Suffolk students recollected on recent earthquakes in Italy

Italy has been shaken up by a string of earthquakes that have left thousands of people homeless and caused extensive structural damage to the country’s ancient architecture. The most recent seismic activity, a 6.6 magnitude quake on Oct. 30, is the worst to hit Italy in more than three decades, reported The New York Times. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that it struck 3.7 miles north of Norcia with aftershocks that rippled throughout Central Italy. Currently, there are 12 Suffolk University students studying abroad in Italy. Six of the students are enrolled in John Cabot University in Rome, an area that felt considerable rumblings as a result of the quake.

Caleb Gauvin, a Suffolk University sophomore finance major, has been in Rome since Aug. 21 studying abroad in the ancient city for the semester. Born in Maine, Gauvin has grown up and attended school exclusively in the Northeast of the United States. He said he has never witnessed a natural disaster like this, first hand, until he began his studies in Rome. He explained that his roommate from California had experienced this before and fortunately knew the general safety protocols for seismic tremors.

“I woke up and my bed just started shaking,” said Gauvin. “My roommate told me to get under the door frame so I ran to get underneath the door frame. The whole apartment was now shaking.”

As the apartment continued to rattle, Gauvin noted that particles from the ceiling started to come loose and sprinkle down on his roommate’s bed. The following day classes at John Cabot were cancelled as the damage was assessed. The university sent emails for their students to confirm that they were safe.

After the earthquake, emergency services pulled people from the rubble in Norcia, CNN reported.  The Basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia, built during the 14th century, was decimated by the quake and nearly reduced to rubble. Multiple news sources also confirmed that Rome’s Coliseum had newly formed cracks that began creeping up the sides of the ancient arena following the disaster. fifteen thousand people are currently receiving shelter along the Adriatic coast and central Italy,  as of early Wednesday morning, multiple news sources reported.

In the areas that were less affected, the Italian residents seem to be going about their daily routines, according to Gauvin. Homes across the country were rattled violently while most residents were trying to sleep, but it has not left a noticeable emotional scar on many of those who call Rome home, said Gauvin.

“I went into the city that day,” he said. “Public transportation was still running normally. People were out on the streets. They seem pretty accustomed to it.”

Four earthquakes have jolted Italy since this August. There have been no confirmed deaths resulting from the most recent quake, but the death toll from previous earthquakes in Italy in 2016 is more than 290, reported the Guardian.

Almost all of these casualties happened as a result of the devastating effects following the Aug. 24 earthquake that struck Accumoli. The violent vibrations struck the structurally unsound city, collapsing rubble on hundreds of helpless residents. Almost immediately, the European Commission released a statement.

“We express our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones,” read the statement. “Our thoughts are also with the first responders and all those involved in the rescue operations. Italy is part of our European family and as the European Union we stand in full solidarity with the Italian people and the national authorities at this time.”

Suffolk students in Rome were too far from Accumoli to feel the Aug. 24 tremors. Their first seismic experience came recently on Oct. 26. During this day, Gauvin was taking an exam as the ground started to jitter. This was the first earthquake he has ever experienced. He recalled feeling of uneasiness as stability began to slip under his feet.

“I went to turn my exam in and when I stood up, I’ve never felt anything like this.” he said. “I thought I was feeling lightheaded, but all of a sudden my teacher told us it was an earthquake. The Italians in class didn’t think anything of it. Another student from Suffolk was in the class and we were both shocked that they didn’t react at all.”

Gauvin noted that the local Italians are quick to forget when it comes to domestic earthquakes. Although these are completely new experiences for him, he said locals seem to shake it off as if nothing happened.

“Nobody talked about it,” he said. “It’s like it didn’t even happen.”

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About the Contributor
Jacob Geanous
Jacob Geanous, Past World News Editor
Jacob Geanous is a senior Print Journalism major with a minor in government/international relations.
He has an associates degree in criminal justice from Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania. His articles can also be seen in the Metro section of the Boston Globe.
No, he's not tired, that's just how he looks. He played outside linebacker at the University of Pittsburgh, but don't ask him about it. If he is not in the office, good luck finding him.

Comments (3)

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  • H

    Helena WilliamsonNov 19, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    people have to pay for damages. It’s terrible when I have to leave your house. You can leave a review on my site

  • E

    EvelinaJun 7, 2017 at 4:55 am

    I believe that it is very difficult to live in a place where natural disasters constantly occur. Because after such cases people have to pay for damages. It’s terrible when I have to leave your house. You can leave a review on my site dissertations online here аbout earthquakes and other natural disasters.

  • J

    JodiNov 12, 2016 at 12:30 am

    I think Italy has been shaken up by way of a string of earthquakes that have left lots of humans homeless and triggered considerable structural damage to the country’s historic structure. This article provide more information.I am working at top essay writing service( for the post.

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Education on a shaky foundation: Suffolk students recollected on recent earthquakes in Italy