When I heard that Hurricane Sandy was on its way, I only expected to be home for a day or two and then return to campus and see minimal damage, similar to last year when Irene pushed us all into the Spiro Sports Center. Never did I expect to see an area so close to home hit with such force and destruction. While our campus may have survived, many homes nearby are suffering from ruin, no power, and people are lined up and down the streets to get gas.
While I made it out lucky (CT didn't get hit as hard as Staten Island or New Jersey), watching the news and hearing about Staten Island and New Jersey hit me hard, as it is an area that has grown to be a second home to me these past four years. Seeing the Whitehall Subway Station completely underwater was like seeing something out of The Day After Tomorrow. For those of you who didn't see it, watch a video from the MTA here.
Besides some broken windows, a lack of power, and some fallen trees, our campus weathered the storm pretty well. What really blew me away though was how our Wagner community came together during the storm. While the energy of Homecoming may have been a bit dampened by the impending storm, the spirit of Wagner students showed through the storm. Students were posting all over Facebook and Twitter welcoming people who lost power into their homes. Roughly 60 students were here on campus during the storm, meaning that most students were able to find a temporary home during the storm, a true sign of how our community bands together and welcomes others in times of need.
Furthermore, the school did a fantastic job of keeping us all updated on events. There was not a day that went by that we students were not reached out to via email by Lee Manchester or through the Wagner College Facebook page when the email server went down. Even though some students were frustrated that they could not return to campus as soon as they wanted to, the school very efficiently communicated the reasons why certain protocols were put into place, and kept students' best interests in mind while being very flexible and fair in the approach. Luckily, student registration times have been pushed back and the school seems to be doing all it can to minimize the frustration that students will experience upon their return to campus.
The Wagner community does not stop there! SGA and its President Greg Balaes have set up the site Wagner Cares, where students can sign up to help volunteer with the clean-up effort on the island. Check it out, and remember that even in trying times, we have each other, and we should all be grateful that we are in a community that truly does care and look out for one another.