Stony Brook University has begun on-campus repairs and is addressing the concerns of students, faculty and parents in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, according to the University Police Department’s Office of Emergency Management.
Senior Vice President of Administration Barbara Chernow and Assistant Chief of Police/Director of Emergency Management Lawrence Zacarese say that the school experienced minimal damage, and that only one residential student on campus suffered minor injuries during the storm. Cost for repairs has not yet been determined.
“It will be a number of days if not weeks to assess the damage to the environment and mechanical operations,” she said, referring to the main campus as well as Stony Brook Southampton and Stony Brook Manhattan campuses. “We are still working to remove tree trunks, remove debris and assess buildings.”
Chernow says that students registered with Stony Brook Alert, designed to provide updates during emergency situations, are “the most up-to-date” and “best equipped” to handle similar situations.
Hurricane Sandy, which was downgraded to a tropical cyclone, hit New York State on Monday, Oct. 29, causing power outages and a loss of Internet service across New York City and Long Island. Students from SB Southampton were evacuated to the main campus dorms.
According Michael Ospitale of the Telecommunications and Networking department, Stony Brook experienced a loss of Internet service from 6:45 p.m. on Monday to 5:25 p.m. on Tuesday due to technical issues experienced by ISP vendors, Light Power and Sidera, which provide Internet service through on-campus fiber circuits. Light Power found cuts in its circuits while Sidera experienced flooding in its Lower Manhattan office.
“There were several downed trees and power lines that went across the circuits,” said Ospitale. “The vendor quickly identified what the situation was and the reason for the outage. Unfortunately, because of the severity of the storm, they were not able to safely dispatch technicians into the field.”
The university experienced a blackout Monday night that lasted less than one hour. Freshman Marydelle Abia, 18, who lives in Roth Quad, said she used the time to talk with friends since she was unable to complete her work, which required the use of the Internet.
“As soon as the Internet went on, everyone went back to their rooms and stayed there,” she said. “Without Internet, we couldn’t really do much.”
Angela Agnello, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Faculty Student Association, said that the University began updating students the Friday before the storm, delivered food supplies in advance and took the necessary precautions to ensure safe travel between buildings.
“Preparations were made prior to the storm to assure that sufficient resources were available to provide safe food service through the storm and aftermath,” she said in an email. “Immediately prior to the storm, all loose objects including outdoor seating were secured or removed from places where they could be blown away and cause damage.”
Lisa Ho, a junior, agrees with Agnello and said she was more concerned about the safety of her own family in Brooklyn and felt safe inside the confines of the university.
“I think for people living on campus, we were more worried about our families who are in the city, Nassau or even Suffolk,” said Ho, a biochemistry major. “We knew that we had a safety net with campus police. I was more worried about whether they lost power.”
Classes resumed on Monday, Nov. 5, as announced by an email sent out by President Stanley. Power has been restored to Stony Brook Southampton and the administration hopes to move residents back in over the weekend. Stony Brook Manhattan remains without power. A decision on when to continue classes there has not been announced.