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Hurricane Sandy tested campus communication

By Ylenia B. Elvy-Panton
On November 12, 2012

  • Pictured above is destruction from Sandy, a tree down in front of UConn’s Chemistry Building. During the storm, college campuses had to effectivly reach students and faculty.

Hurricane Sandy is still on everyone's minds, even two weeks after its initial hit in the northeast. As a result, college campuses, students and faculty were tested on their communication and cooperative skills to relay important emergency information.
On Oct. 29, students received e-mails from their schools alerting them of the storm to come. New York and New Jersey were the most damaged states, with flooding and power outages a commonality throughout both states. The loss of power did disrupt some means of communication, but some students were told ahead of time that they wouldn't return to school until the following week or were even contacted via text message.
Joyce Shou, a freshman at the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University in Bronx, N.Y. is a commuter student. She said that Fordham was very organized in alerting students about class cancellations.
"Fordham University notified all their students through email," said Shou. "I was relieved to hear that classes did not begin until Nov. 5."
Shou commutes to classes everyday from Long Island, so she mainly relied on public transportation. The Long Island Rail Road, the train system connecting Long Island to New York, had been closed due to the weather conditions. Even after the storm, traffic was still slow.
"[The trains were] less frequent so I had to take a later train than usual and was late to my 8:30 a.m. class," said Shou.
Resident students were especially looked after during the storm. Lorraine Ballero, a freshman at St. John's University in Queens, N.Y., mentioned how officials did a great job at keeping students safe.
"When our other campuses in Manhattan and Staten Island were affected very badly by the storm, they made sure to evacuate those students to the much safer Queens campus," said Ballero. "Public Safety sent out a mass text, a phone call and an email."
With some college students still experiencing lasting affects of the hurricane, universities have publicly addressed scheduling. Richard L. Edwards, Ph.D., the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Rutgers University, released a statement to the university on Nov. 2 in regards to the New Brunswick campus.
"We have been through a hurricane of historic proportions," Edwards said. "We ask that all faculty exercise appropriate compassion, judgment, and flexibility regarding students who may be absent or unable to fulfill class requirements until the storm's impact has been minimized."
Now that the winter season is approaching, one can only imagine the weather emergencies that will ensue. After experiencing the measures taken during Hurricane Sandy, northeastern college students and faculty can expect a plethora of available sources of information.

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