Students respond to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy

By Jodi Guglielmi, A&E Editor

November 9, 2012 

Many High Point University students watched in shock as millions were devastated when Hurricane Sandy came ripping through the Northeast last week. The storm affected at least 24 states in some way, from Florida to Maine and west to Michigan and Wisconsin.

As a school that is filled with students from the Northeast, many students and families felt the destruction of the storm. They were left unable to contact their families, and the only news they could receive about what was happening in their area was from what they heard from the national media.

Both New Jersey and New York experienced emergency evacuations in cities where the storm was expected to hit the hardest. Hurricane Sandy’s surge hit New York City on Oct. 29, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines, cutting power in and around the city. The storm also slammed into New Jersey that same night with torrential rains, howling winds and widespread flooding.

Jason Squatriglia, a freshman from New York said, “Being more than nine hours away from home was hard for me, especially during Hurricane Sandy. I wasn’t able to reach my family until Tuesday evening and that kind of uncertainty led to an abundance of emotions.”

Unfortunately, for some students, when they did get in touch with their families the news they got was worse than they could have ever imagined.

“My house is essentially destroyed. There was about 3 to 4 feet of water in my living room; everything is ruined,” said Bonnie Vallee, a junior who is from New Jersey.

Both Vallee’s parents are currently out of work and don’t expect the power to be back on for weeks. School has been suspended until Nov. 20 to give the town time to recover.

Chelsea Consalo, a junior who also lives in New Jersey, experienced similar losses. “My family owns two houses but one of them is completely destroyed. My bedroom is gone and all of my possessions are washed away.”

Luckily in all cases, the families of each student are okay and no one was harmed. However, the experience of losing everything you own can also be emotionally devastating.

“You never think it will happen to you and in the blink of an eye it does. Childhood memories were literally washed away, it’s really just sad,” said Vallee.

Even in the wake of a tragedy, HPU recognizes the importance of coming together as a united body to help support those who are suffering. Delta Sigma Phi, a fraternity on campus, did their part by giving all proceeds they made from hosting their weekly Ham’s College Night event on Nov. 8 towards the recovery efforts in New Jersey and New York.

“This has been a time when you truly realize what’s actually important in life, and that’s your family’s safety and the people that surround you with love and support,” said Consalo.