Seton Hall offers shelter to community
In the midst of Hurricane Sandy wreaking havoc across the tri-state area, Seton Hall University upheld power and invited struggling commuters and community members to stay on campus.
Sandy struck South Orange and surrounding areas with hurricane- force winds. The campus itself emerged from the storm relatively unharmed, but classes were cancelled because conditions kept commuters and faculty from traveling to school, according to Vice President of Student Services Dr. Tracy Gottlieb.
“It’s like a surreal feeling, that there’s a sense of normalcy here and I’m so grateful for it, but then the reality is that so many people are suffering, and so many people have challenges,” Gottlieb said.
According to Gottlieb, Seton Hall opened its doors to commuters and community members alike. People from local areas found shelter in the University Center, while Student Services took action to organize opportunities for commuters to stay with residents.
There was some confusion about commuting students staying overnight in residence halls in the days immediately following the storm, but for those who did not seek help from Student Services, the “no classes, no passes” rule applied.
Junior Joel Griffieth was denied entrance into Nuemann Hall the Sunday following the storm.
“I feel like I’ve heard something about a form you can fill out now, but at the time that wasn’t in place yet,” he said. “I tried to get in because I needed to charge some of my devices and get some work done.”
When classes resumed on Nov. 5, Student Services promptly sent out an email and a link on PirateNet to offer help to students and professors in need after the storm. The email read, “Our motto has rarely been more apt – Hazard Zet Forward. The Division of Student Services wants to help you.”
According to Gottlieb, commuters and residents use the same form, which is linked in the email, to stay on campus or to host a commuter.
“If there’s something else to do and someone suggests it, I’ll do it,” Gottlieb said. “I know how upsetting it is to be so displaced because I feel it, too. I really feel that Student Services, my whole area, is working so hard.”
Freshman commuter Abbie Lancero found the University to be accommodating.
“The school and mostly the faculty have been very helpful. They understand that most of us don’t have power,” she said. “They’ve been flexible with schedules and even for appointments for registration.”
Lancero applied and stayed with a resident one night this week after the storm.
“Moving here was very comforting,” she said.
Seton Hall is still working hard to lend a helping hand after Sandy. On Nov. 7, Freshman Studies gave out free coffee and doughnuts in the parking lot to commuters.
Mary Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.