Recent Superstorm Sandy spared the New Paltz campus but has not left members of the campus community unscathed.
The facilities staff and the College’s Emergency Response Team took great efforts in preparing and being available for this weather crisis. “We spent days getting ready and felt secure that we could manage this event with resources available,” said Brian Pine, director of facilities operations and maintenance.
“We were very lucky to be spared from much of the wind, rain and tidal surge that extensively damaged many communities south of us,” said John Shupe, assistant vice president for facilities management. “We only had one tree and one light pole topple during the storm. I’m very proud of the pre-planning and pre-storm preparation, which, along with the more southerly storm track of Sandy, helped limit the damage to our campus.”
As we announced in a Campus Update on Nov. 1, many members of our campus community and their families and friends in the Hudson Valley, Long Island, New York City and New Jersey, have been impacted directly or indirectly by the superstorm. Some have experienced extended power outages, damaged or destroyed homes, or transportation disruptions that have stranded them in New Paltz or at home.
In order to provide support and guidance for students who have been affected by the devastating storm, the college has appointed an Ombudsperson to act as the point person for student questions and concerns related to the hurricane and its consequences. Linda Eaton, Dean of Students, will be acting in this capacity. She may be contacted through her secretary, Lauren, at ext. 3261.
New Paltz Athletes and Greek Life teamed up to organize a food and supply drive earlier this week, collecting general supplies such as flashlights, batteries, paper goods, hand sanitizer, towels, and cleaning supplies. The Beta Omicron Chapter of the Chi Alpha Epsilon Academic Honor Society is collecting donations for Family of New Paltz and Maranatha Human Services, through Nov. 14. (Contact Ivelisse Tuttle, senior EOP advisor at ext. 3226 for details.) There is also a blanket and coat drive underway on campus. Drop boxes are located at the Service Building, in the lobbies of Haggerty Administration Building, the Student Union, the Athletic and Wellness Center, van den Berg Hall, Sojourner Truth Library, and Jacobson Faculty Tower. (Call ext. 3310 for more information about the blanket and coat drive, which will run through Friday, Nov. 16.)
Professor James Halpern (Psychology), director of the Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH), has been working to organize training with the Red Cross so that students may engage more effectively with the recovery. Once trained, disaster studies students will assist in the Emergency Operations Center at American Red Cross in New York. Several disaster studies students were involved with preparation for the storm and staffed the shelters here in Ulster County.
We commend this good work and encourage all faculty and staff to continue communicating through the college’s channels in order to notify our community of efforts being made and to maximize the level of help that we can contribute.