Hurricane Spares Campus; Prompts Students to Help Distant Victims

Byline: by Lesley Eichelberger

Posted: November 16, 2012

Hurricane Sandy cut short fall's splendor, pounding and shaking the leaves off of the trees, leaving barren limbs in its wake. The storm swept through Chambersburg beginning on Mon, Oct. 29 and lasting through Tues, Oct. 30.

The brief storm caused only minor flooding to the campus in the Disert/Rosencranz parking lot as the Conococheague Creek rose an estimated foot, causing the area to close for twenty hours. Flooding also forced the bridge to the stables and the Fulton farm to close, requiring students and staff to use alternative routes. The commerce Street provided access entrance to the stables and Wenger Lane gave access to the farm. Although the storm caused little damage to the campus, the staff prepared for the worst.

"We started getting ready the week before the storm. We put sandbags at areas that had potential to flood and checked the down spouting on buildings to prevent blockage and flooding. We also worked closely with security and housekeeping to stay on top of things. It was a team effort and everyone really did a great job," said Director of Facilities Management, Jack Kelly.

Student needs were a top priority for the staff as the storm threatened to cut off electricity to the school.

"My staff got together the Wednesday before the storm to discuss how we would cover things like heating, communications, supplies, etc. We had to pre-plan. We are responsible for many people - students, commuters, staff and faculty. We needed to know what would happen with everyone if we had no heat. Could we combine people in buildings? How many land line phones do we have if students can't charge their cell phones and need to call their families?" said Carolyn Perkins, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students.

"It was scary," said Alexi James '13. "I did get a lot of emails from the staff telling me things like where to park to avoid the flooding and about the closings. I was more worried about my family the whole time. They live between the Bronx and Manhattan in New York. My grandmother lives in an assisted living facility and she only had partial power. My mother had no power and had just bought $200-300 worth of groceries and most of it was lost with the power outage."

To help those that suffered more from Sandy's wrath, two students immediately organized a campus-wide donation drive after the storm. Victoria Alterio ' 13 and Daniela Kenmure '13 were motivated to collect the supplies after learning on Facebook that their shared hometown near the New Jersey shoreline was devastated by flooding.

"We both started talking about how upset we were. We felt helpless not being able to do anything while we were here. We decided to do something," said Kenmure.

The two girls took their first mission trip to Mantoloking, a beachfront community ravaged by uncontrollable fires caused by exploding gas lines, on Fri, Nov 2. They drove two cars, each loaded full of essential supplies for both human and non-human victims of Hurricane Sandy.

"Going back home and seeing how much has changed in just a week was difficult to see. But volunteering at the animal shelter and seeing people reunited with their pets made us realize that no matter what was lost, it can be replaced as long as you have your loved ones with you," said Alterio.

The girls plan several more visits to the area and are hoping to coordinate a student and faculty volunteer efforts to involve the entire campus in their cause. Anyone interested in donating supplies can do so at designated boxes in Lenfest Commons. Anyone interested in donating their time should contact Alterio, Kenmure or Chaplain Rosie Magee.

Last Updated: February 23, 2013

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