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Mar 11 2014

Former NYIT Residence Hall Houses Disaster Recovery Services for LIers in Need

Central Islip, N.Y.  (March 11, 2014) — New York Institute of Technology representatives joined local and state officials and nonprofit groups to cut the ribbon last week on new rooms and offices for Hurricane Sandy relief services based at NYIT’s former campus in Central Islip.
Challenger Hall, which once served as a student residence hall, will house up to 150 volunteers from the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Services and function as the hub for other Sandy recovery activities. The Long Island Health & Wellness Council is coordinating all long term services for Long Island residents, many of whom are still living in homes with mold, structural damage, and other problems in the aftermath of the super storm.
Officials with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Services jokingly referred to the rooms and facilities as the “Taj Mahal” compared to the church sanctuaries and parking-lot tents where some volunteers have lived. NYIT is also allowing the group to use a kitchen in a nearby building to serve meals to volunteers.
About 100 people gathered to watch elected officials and nonprofit representatives officially mark the building’s new use. Among those present from NYIT were Lilyan Robbins, director of extended education & conference services, Greg Banhazl, director of business development, and Jordan Thompson, associate general counsel.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Services Project Coordinator Bill Johnson said volunteers from his group have fanned out across Long Island to help the elderly, single mothers, and disabled people deal with substantial damage that remains in their homes 17 months after the storm hit Long Island.
“Now we have the capacity to bring in the numbers of people that want to volunteer and help,” he said. “We’ll have people here all the time.”
Volunteers will sleep on in barracks-style housing and in former dorm rooms on new wooden bunk beds the group built. Several offices house relief services construction and volunteer managers. The Health & Welfare Council has set up additional offices to help coordinate Island-wide disaster case management, legal help, and donations.
“We want to let people know that they are not forgotten,” said Gwen O’Shea, president and CEO of the Long Island Health & Welfare Council.
The arrangement was made possible by a $600,000 grant from the American Red Cross to the council, which will remain at the site until next December.
About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, more than 95,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit
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