Weathering the Superstorm

At the time I’m writing this blog, it’s Friday, the day that would usually mark the end of a typical week in the office.  Instead, it’s capping off the end of a week that’s been anything but typical.  To put it lightly, I think we can all agree it’s been a very surreal, scary, and unbelievable week in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

It’s been a week during which many of us have wondered at the strength of Mother Nature, endured days of power outages, cleaned up flooded basements, and thrown out spoiled food from the refrigerator, to name a few inconveniences.   Whatever these crazy days have entailed, I can bet that all of us in Student Affairs have shared the same thought: what about our students? 

After having no power for a few days, no access to email, and intermittent cell phone service, I finally learned that students at the College of Saint Elizabeth have been given shelter at Centenary College.  This was a relief, knowing that they were in a place with electricity, heat, and hot water.  But I also wonder about the students who left campus to ride out the storm with their families, and I especially worry about the ones who went home to South Jersey.

It’s been a week full of misfortunes on various levels, but I know there’s also been selfless deeds, creative problem solving, and acts of heroism.  We have come to know the breadth and severity of the devastation throughout New Jersey.  We have been so inundated by bad news and daunting situations, that I’m eager to hear some good news, specifically the good stuff that pertains to how our higher ed institutions have responded to the storm and its aftermath. 

Who are some unsung heroes? 

What creative solutions have been implemented?

As for CSE, on the Friday before the storm, the food service staff was making loads of sandwiches to feed students for a few days in the event of a power outage.  The Facilities staff already make plans to stay on campus last Monday night into Tuesday, even if the rest of campus was closed.  I learned yesterday that the Director of Residence Life (and probably many others on the Res Life staff) have relocated to Centenary and are waiting out the displacement alongside our students.  I admire and have the utmost respect for these individuals who put our students first in the time of a crisis.  When campus eventually reopens and everyone goes back to work, I’m sure I’ll hear lots more details about the great ways in which our college responded to this emergency.

How about other campuses?  What are some positive things you’ve witnessed or learned about that have happened in response to the storm?  Please add your comments so we can learn from one another’s experiences, and in the short term, be heartened by some good news.

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