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Nov 02 2012

A Close Encounter With Sandy

For NYIT student Alvaro Guerrero, Hurricane Sandy gave him time to bond with classmates— and catch up on some chess.

The biomedical engineering major and resident assistant is among the 300 NYIT students who gathered together under the tremendous force of Hurricane Sandy inside the university’s residence halls located at SUNY Old Westbury.

“Everyone was together and trying to get through it the best way possible,” Guerrero said.

“NYIT staff members were doing rounds to regularly check in on everybody,” added Francy Magee, dean for campus life at NYIT-Old Westbury. “The dining areas had generators where students charged phones and contacted parents. Also, emergency lighting was on in the hallways.”

The camaraderie among NYIT students and staff was evident. “We were taking care of each other,” Guerrero said. “No one wanted to be alone.” Activities to keep students occupied included chess, Chinese checkers, Uno, and other social activities.

“Most of the residents I spoke to had taken proper precautions and safety measures,” said Christopher Frumusa, who serves as head resident assistant, orientation leader, and first-year experience mentor. “After the loss of power, my residents and staff were extremely cooperative and many people came together to help one another out in this time of need. Many residents clustered together in lit areas of buildings to pass the time and be there for one another. I was proud to see other NYIT students reaching out to their peers who needed help.”

Guerrero said he was never in danger of being disconnected from family and friends because he had a steady cell phone signal throughout the hurricane and the days that followed. In addition, plenty of food and water was available during and after the hurricane.

“We had chicken, hot dogs, cereal, hamburgers and rice,” he added.

Power was restored after only one day of outage, and now a sense of normalcy has returned. “Now that we have electricity back, we have Internet,” Guerrero said. “People are back to studying.”

In addition, NYIT faculty and staff dedicated their expertise to ensuring local communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy are receiving the assistance they need. Susan Neville, Ph.D., R.N., chair and associate professor in NYIT’s Department of Nursing, worked at a Manhasset, N.Y., shelter for 10 hours alongside medical professionals from the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other support groups to assistant elderly patients and families.

“It breaks your heart to see so much suffering, loss, and displacement but the spirit of the people is so amazing despite the terrible situations they experienced,” Neville said. “Many were displaced without their medications, clothing, and other essentials. This was a true lesson in resiliency!”

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NYIT staff worked diligently to oversee the restoration of NYIT's facilities to normal operating procedures as well as reassure students and their families located at the university's New York campuses of their safety.

At NYIT-Manhattan, the campus held up to the fierce winds and heavy rain. Damage was limited to three broken windows, all of which have already been replaced. 

"There has been no other structural damage to any of the campus buildings," said Niyazi Bodur, vice president for NYIT's Office of Information Technology and Infrastructure. "The buildings have all utilities and are ready to be operational."

However, given the limited mass transit available throughout the New York City area, NYIT officials deemed it prudent to close through Saturday, Nov. 3. Normal operations and classes are expected to resume on Monday, Nov. 5.

NYIT-Old Westbury suffered tree damage and related debris that impacted roads and walkways but as of Oct. 31, these areas were cleared. NYIT took additional precautions before Hurricane Sandy to ensure that no buildings in Old Westbury experienced any flooding. In addition, though LIPA has not been able to restore power, two generators are already in place to provide electricity.

NYIT's Central Islip location experienced only a momentary power loss on Oct. 29 and there is no structural damage to any buildings. The campus resumed normal operations on Oct. 31.

NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., expressed his well wishes to all of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. “Our students certainly learned more about nature, hurricanes, disasters, emergencies, cooperation, coping, collaboration, and the challenge of electricity amid so much more,” he wrote in a letter to NYIT’s global community. “Many have encountered out-of-classroom experiential learning about helping others. And we are very proud of those who are doing organized volunteer work today to help others in the broader community.”

He added to those impacted by the hurricane: “Best wishes for the coming days and challenges of the aftermath of Sandy. Our thoughts are with you.”

Contact NYIT

Elizabeth Sullivan
Public Relations Strategist
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Elaine Iandoli
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Karen Marie Belnap
Global Public Relations Strategist
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