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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hurricane Sandy still afflicting Tri-State area

Published: November 9, 2012
Section: Front Page

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction, New York and New Jersey residents continue to experience extended power outages and flooding during an increasingly chilly fall. While little impact can be seen in Waltham more than one week after the storm, many students at Brandeis are concerned about their families in the tri-state area who remain deeply affected.

Nine hundred and sixty nine of the 3,560 Brandeis undergraduate students are from New York and New Jersey, Andrew Flagel, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment said. Roughly 27 percent of the undergraduate population has family and loved ones in the affected areas.

Since the hurricane, Brandeis has offered extensive counseling services to students, and has remained cognizant of sensitive issues, such as Phonathon fundraising efforts, following the storm.

“Brandeis suspended fundraising calls to affected areas shortly after the hurricane hit,” Bill Burger, Brandeis Associate Vice President of Communications said.

Rebecca Sanders, ’13 explained that while she is safe at Brandeis, her family in River Edge, New Jersey did not have power for more than a week.

“My town wasn’t flooded but towns nearby got some pretty heavy flooding. It was difficult. I kept wanting to check in back home to make sure everything was ok. It was weird being away and not knowing what was going on at home,” she said. “I kept seeing pictures on the internet of what was going on in New Jersey, and having to call home to see if my family was alright.

It was strange to have life continue at Brandeis as though nothing had happened, while I knew everything was going on back home,” Sanders added.

Sanders’ family regained power this week, and were able to return to work on Tuesday.

“Now the majority of River Edge has power back, and people are finally going back to work. But there’s still the undertone of destruction in nearby places,” Sanders said.

According to Anna Khazan, ’13, her family in Woodmere, New York, on Long Island, was extremely lucky, and only lost power for one day during the hurricane. “My grandparents still don’t have power and water, so they’re living with us. My family is an exception because for the first week things were a lot worse for many people. A lot of people still don’t have power. It’s popular now to hang out a Starbucks for internet,” Khazan said.

Khazan described the unusual feeling of being far from home during the hurricane.

“Usually your family is looking out for you when you’re at Brandeis. This was the other way around. The hurricane didn’t have too much of an effect here, but it was hard to imagine what was going on at home, because you could see pictures, but you weren’t actually there,” Khazan said.

President Fred Lawrence expressed concern for affected families, in an email this week.

“I know that everyone at Brandeis has been saddened and even shocked by the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. We know that the families of many of our students from New York, New Jersey and other affected states are still struggling the impact of the storm and the devastation it created,” he wrote on Tuesday. “Our thought and prayers go out to them and we encourage everyone who is able to find a way to contribute the important emergency and recovery efforts underway.”

According to Khazan, Brandeis kept students and faculty informed through every step of the storm.

“Most of the information I received was through Brandeis. We all felt really safe and in the loop, and it’s nice that the university recognized how many people come from the tri-state area. Just because we didn’t have flooding here, doesn’t mean that we weren’t affected,” Khazan said.

Like Khazan, Sanders expressed the eerie feeling of looking at current pictures of landmarks she has known as intact her whole life.

“The Jersey Shore has been completely destroyed in many parts. It’s strange to see pics of places I’ve been going to my whole life. It’s sad, and it will probably take a long time to rebuild. One week later at Brandeis, not much is visible. In Massachusetts people have generally moved on, unless they have family in the affected areas,” Sanders said.