By Leven Syers, Staff Writer
In the destructive wake of both Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter that recently struck the Atlantic Northeast, New Jersey’s residents, companies, businesses and state officials alike are now faced with a daunting restoration process which will more than likely carry into next year and beyond. Moreover, many resident and college students are still left without power or homes.
Kevin Schafer, Assistant Director for Housing Assignments commented on the current conditions staying on campus. “We currently have over 200 communters staying with us. We still have about 18 faculty, staff and families in Webster Hall. Some of our students have lost their cars from the storm. Others have had significant damage to their apartments and homes, which is making them unlivable for a significant amount of time. We are working with each of those students individually to meet their needs.”
Christina Rexrode and Verena Dobnik of the Huffington Post reported on New Jersey’s ongoing hardships following Sandy in an article this past Sunday. “About 120,000 customers in New York and New Jersey remained without power Sunday, including tens of thousands of homes and businesses that were too damaged to connect to power even if it was running in their neighborhood. More than 8 million lost power during the storm, and some during a later nor’easter.”
In spite of all the hardships, however, Montclair State University has witnessed an immense amount of support given by its students, teachers and neighboring citizens over the past two weeks in an effort to bring relief to those still feeling the effects of both storms. Campus organizations have been collaborating to help victims by setting up various donation sites on campus. As a result, those affected by the storm have had access to clothing, toiletries, cleaning supplies and other needs, a testament to Montclair State University, the campus partners and its neighboring communities’ collective strength and unity during tumultuous times.
Apart from donations, organizations at Montclair State have also been hosting events this week whose proceeds went to the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund. These events included a blood drive, a bake sale and dinner held at the Smashburger in Clifton last Tuesday, hosted by Campus Recreation Club Sports. Utilizing social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook, Club Sports promoted this event with astonishing results. Teams such as the NHL’s New Jersey Devils “re-tweeted” the event, as well as celebrities such as Caroline Manzo from the reality television series “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” Carolyn Garrone, coordinator of Intramural and Club Sports expressed her views on the efforts being made by Montclair State University’s community. “I’m so happy that we decided to do this. During the Monday following the storm, I was looking on Facebook and a lot of the relief efforts were happening elsewhere in the state, but I didn’t find information on this area. It was important for us to reach out to those that needed the support.”
Though the past few weeks have proven difficult and busy for all of those involved with the relief efforts, an air of optimism has been shared by many of those who have aided in the process, including Kelly O’Connor, Interim Special Events Coordinator at Campus Recreation. O’Connor commented, “A large amount of clothing and food donations have been made campus-wide by everyone since last week. The whole campus has been working together with great success, and will continue to work together until relief is no longer needed.”
As the rebuilding process continues, more events will be held in the future on campus in order to further assist those in need, including a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, a coffeehouse concert and multiple trips to help clean up sites along the Jersey Shore once citizens are allowed to resume commuting to those areas. If you are interested in making donations to facilitate the relief process, a list of on-campus donation sites with drop-off times will be provided below. If you would like to find out more information pertaining to future events, fundraisers, etc. contact information will be provided above as well.