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Hurricane Sandy at a NYC Campus!

by on November 12, 2012

This entry comes to us from Dr. Marijo Russell O’Grady, Dean for Students at Pace University’s NYC campus, and a member of the Region II Advisory Board.

I serve as the Dean for Students on the NYC Campus of Pace University. We are located in the heart of the financial district, south street seaport, battery park and city hall. While my university was not severely damaged, we did manage to evacuate approximately 2000 residential students during “Sandy.”

As the Dean, I am a first responder, and live blocks away from the university, actually, I live in Evacuation A zone. I made it to the university to “serve” and serve I did. We were able to evacuate our students to the main building, and served them three hot meals and snack at 9pm on generator. We had students sleeping on mats in the gym, to the student union couches, to cots, to the carpeted theatre where we film “Inside the Actor’s Studio” with James Lipton.

This tragedy had similarities to 9/11 for me (we were just a few blocks away and I could see the planes hit from my office). The students who stayed with us on campus were amazing, as was my student affairs staff. We even attempted a jury-rigged movie night (with no power) for an impromptu Halloween party. At one point, we got a call to assist the elderly homebound in our neighborhood, to deliver food walking up many, many flights in the dark to help others.

The students on the way over and back commented how well they were taken care of by Pace University, how grateful they were for all they have/had, and many had tears as they stepped up to help others. It was an amazing experience and one I will not soon forget, as for many days, I was the top administrator on campus.

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