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After the Storm

The Rutgers community rallies to help residents recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Rutgers images during hurricane Sandy
Before, during, and after the October storm that pummeled New Jersey and New York, Rutgers students, faculty, staff, and alumni have been helping out. Students posted notes of thanks to Dining Services, which managed to serve food despite a lack of power. The Sonny Werblin Recreation Center in Piscataway doubled as a Red Cross disaster relief shelter where Rutgers First Lady Francis Harper Barchi and National Guardsman and alumnus Paul Greenberg lent a hand. Photography by Nick Romanenko

Even before Hurricane Sandy ravaged the New Jersey coast, Rutgers was gearing up to feed thousands of students and assess the storm’s impact on the ocean. Out in the Atlantic Ocean, an underwater glider, lowered into the water by Ph.D. students from the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, was relaying data about the effects of the storm. At Rutgers–New Brunswick, students woke on the morning after the hurricane to scrambled eggs and hash browns, much of it prepared by workers who slept on cots in the dining halls and cooked on propane-powered outdoor grills. Today, Rutgers students, alumni, faculty, and staff continue to organize fundraisers and plan research projects to help those hit by Sandy and learn from the storm.

Right after Sandy hit, more than 800 people evacuated from the coast found emergency shelter on the Busch Campus where Rutgers students and staff volunteered. Athletic director Tim Pernetti and student-athletes drove to hard-hit Union Beach, New Jersey, with two vans of supplies. Rutgers Against Hunger raised money through its “Rutgers Rallies for the Shore” online food drive. The School of Arts and Sciences transfer center collected 9,000 pounds of food and other necessities. A relief concert at Kirkpatrick Chapel, hosted by the Mason Gross School of the Arts, featured the University Glee Club and the Afro-Caribbean Ensemble. Rutgers 4-H agents helped displaced homeowners to relocate their pets.

Regina Kalucki-Solomon and women's Scarlet Knights basketball team
Members of the women’s Scarlet Knights basketball team, led by alumna and former player Regina Kalucki-Solomon (seated, second from left), help unload donated food at Elijah’s Promise, the New Brunswick soup kitchen. Photography by Jody Somers

Rutgers alumni were central to relief efforts: Mathieu Nelessen RC’99, the youngest regional CEO for the American Red Cross, led the North Jersey Red Cross in organizing volunteers and providing everything from food to mental-health counseling.

Sandy, Irene, and similar storms have underscored the implications of climate change, and Rutgers researchers are on the case. Among other efforts, a $400,000 award from the Kresge Foundation will help the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, an initiative of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, find ways to prepare for the effects of climate change in New Jersey—and beyond.

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