Robin Glynn – General Assignment Reporter –
It was no trick or treat for residence hall students when they were told to evacuate as Hurricane Sandy made her way to the East Coast, leaving 30 students to ride out the storm in the basement of Wilkinson Hall.
Students living in the residence halls were evacuated on Oct. 28 and later returned on Oct. 30.
“It ran smoothly for something that ran quickly,” said Robert DeMezzo, associate director of Residence Life, who was on campus to make sure the evacuation ran smoothly.
Demezzo said that the basement of Wilkinson Hall was designated as shelter for students who had no where to go or had a great distance to travel.
“Southern arranged with Chartwells to provide three meals a day for those students,” said DeMezzo. “We also provided bedding and linens, video game systems, television, DVDs, a pool table and emergency supplies.”
Students like Angela Caputo, who lives in Seymour, were surprised that Southern only canceled two days of school.
“My part of town didn’t really get hit that bad,” said Caputo, a communication disorders major.
Caputo said that she did not lose power and there was not that much damage.
In a post-hurricane update posted on Southern’s website from Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for Capital Budgeting & Facilities Operations, the most damage that was done to Southern was the loss of trees along the Olympic Walkway between North Campus and Moore Field House, near the Wintergreen Building; as well as a tree on the corner of Farnham Avenue and Wintergreen. A total of 20 trees were lost, and three of those were taken down because they were deemed unsafe.
According to Sheeley, the serious damage was the loss of a large oak tree at the rear of Lang House, which fell on top of the addition to the Lang House. The damage is limited to the exterior porch overhang and to a small section of roofing in the right rear of the addition. There are mixed reviews as to how Southern handled the evacuation of students in the dorms.
“I guess they handled it well,” said Caputo. “I don’t know, I wasn’t here. They could have taken kids out earlier instead of waiting ‘til the last minute,” said Caputo.
Students like Jackie Kocun agree. Kocun, who lives in Hickerson Hall, did not know about the evacuation until she saw people moving items and mattresses.
“I was never told about the evacuation,” said Kocun. “I was shocked that we had to evacuate.”
Kocun said that she stayed with her mom in Norwalk, who had been on her way to Martha’s Vineyard. She believes that more could have been done to make sure all residence hall students knew about the evacuation.
“They should have gone door to door,” said Kocun. “No one really checks emails all the time. I don’t think the C.C.’s have every one’s numbers.”
Caputo was surprised that classes resumed Wednesday.
“I know a lot of schools around here didn’t,” said Caputo.
Kocun advice to Southern was to be better prepared in the future.
“They have to better prepare,” said Kocun. “It wasn’t calm in the dorm. They should have some sort of practice.”
DeMezzo said while students were safe in Wilkinson, there was no damage to the building.
“There was no flooding,” said DeMezzo. “Community Advisors made sure people were safe.”