Natalie Kfoury – Co-Editor-in-Chief
While Hurricane Sandy’s effects on Lasell and the Newton area were relatively minor, many members of the Lasell community are from or have relatives living in the areas where Sandy made a bigger impact. Students and faculty members struggled with worry regarding the well-being of their loved ones and houses back home.
Erin Vicente, a professor in the Department of Communication is from Point Pleasant, N.J. Her parents live a quarter mile from the beach, which worried Vicente during the storm.
“The whole town, boardwalk, homes, beach look like a war zone, as my mother described the devastation. My parents said that everyone was calling to see if they were ok and make sure they still had their home because the news coverage would make someone think otherwise,” said Vicente.
“When I first heard about the storm, I thought ‘Oh, it won’t be as bad as everyone is saying. It’s just going to be a little rain and wind, nothing major.’ Days before the storm, I was reading Facebook statuses and Twitter updates about how people were being evacuated from their homes, and school cancellations were being put into place. The severity of the storm finally started to sink in,” said Emma Nuneviller, a sophomore from Port Monmouth, N.J.
Nuneviller’s house had relatively no damage as it resides on the “dry side” of the town. However, the “wet side” faced major destruction with flooding and ruined houses. Nuneviller said that it was extremely difficult to look at pictures of places that were so familiar to her and see how badly they were hit with the storm.
“It’s a ghost town… It’s hard to stand on the sidelines and not be able to help anyone you love out because of the distance between you and them,” said Nuneviller.
Areas such as New York and New Jersey are still experiencing problems related to power outages, two weeks after the storm hit. According to the Long Island Power Authority, Sandy had left about 8.5 million electric customers without service in 21 states.
Freshman Gaby Povolotsky’s family from Secaucus, N.J., lost power for a week, although their house remained unharmed.
“The Hackensack River is right by my town so it flooded the entire town and a lot of my friends’ houses…their basements caved in and their roofs flew off,” said Povolotsky. “It’s heartbreaking. I couldn’t even believe it when I saw pictures of Seaside. I go to the boardwalk every summer and the first roller coaster I ever went on is now somewhere in the ocean.”
“Many of my fondest memories are from spending quality time at the shore with loved ones. I got married at the shore, engaged on Bay Head beach, and brought my daughter to Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk for the first time this summer,” said Vicente. “The summers in Point Pleasant are where me and my family spend the most time together, and there is no other place to be in the summer than relaxing at ‘the shore.’”
Erin Sanders, a sophomore from Fredon, N.J., said that her family was lucky to have only lost power for half an hour.
“My family was lucky, but my best friend, who lives in the next town over, in a more populated area, was out of power for two weeks. Another friend, who lives out on the Coast Guard base on Sandy Hook, experienced damage that will take at least a year to get repaired so that anyone to be able to reside there again,” said Sanders.
The Lasell community responded to the damage done by Hurricane Sandy by hosting a drive to collect donations that was held by the Center for Community- Based Learning. With the help of many students, faculty, and staff members, the CCBL was able to gather a truckload of donations to help those in need.
In addition, students whose families and homes were affected are planning on helping out over Thanksgiving break. Vicente said that she plans to attend a fundraiser for the shore and had donated money to the Red Cross. Nuneviller looks forward to going back to her home and helping out.
“When I go home for Thanksgiving, I will be dedicating most of my time to volunteer in any way that I can,” said Nuneviller. “There are multiple places in my town that are holding shelters, giving out food, and cleaning up after Sandy. I am trying to do anything I can to help the people of my hometown out and get us back on our feet again.”
With contributions by Brandon Chase