Following Superstorm Sandy, the most devastating natural disaster to hit the region in more than 70 years, Stony Brook University has made a concerted effort to ensure students are safe and cared for in the aftermath. While the storm made landfall more than two months ago, there is still a long road ahead in the recovery efforts for many affected; Stony Brook University stands ready to continue providing assistance to students.
As part of its outreach efforts, a team of staff members from the Office of Student Affairs identified and reached out to nearly 4,000 residential and commuter students (both graduate and undergraduate) with current or permanent addresses in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) high-impact zones. As a result of this proactive outreach, the University identified students in need of assistance and referred them to the appropriate resources necessary to assist them in their particular circumstances. The University also provided temporary housing to nine students who were left without homes from the storm. In total, 92 referrals were made for students to a variety of resources including counseling services, academic support services, housing services and the Stony Brook Hardship Fund.
The Hardship Fund, established through the Employee Assistance Program to help faculty and staff affected by a sudden and unexpected event with financial assistance, was opened up to students for the first time ever. “I think it is important that we respond to disasters as an inclusive community, and I have asked for the Fund to be opened to students in need as well,” said President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, in a message to the campus community after the storm.
In the face of adversity and extraordinary circumstances, the University community banded together to organize food, clothing and blood drives; provided group and individual support through the University’s Counseling and Psychological Services Center and the Center for Prevention and Outreach to help students during this difficult time; and coordinated relief opportunities for students who were interested in volunteering their time by establishing and continuing collaborations with a number of organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Long Island Volunteer Center, Island Harvest, Long Island Cares, New York Cares, the Mastic Fire Department and more.
The University also provided a list of relief efforts and helpful tips for volunteering and donating in the wake of a natural disaster, including contacting and affiliating with an established organization; exercising caution, safety and patience; giving through legitimate organizations, such as the National Donations Management Network; and never providing unsolicited donations.
In the immediate aftermath, President Stanley thanked the campus community for their patience and commitment during this time of extreme crisis. “While we still have significant issues to deal with, I am very proud how the people of Stony Brook University have risen to the occasion and helped us and the community weather this storm,” said Dr. Stanley.
Please click here to view a message from President Stanley on the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.