Shelter from the Storm: New School Community Joins Together

 

Students charge their computers, cell phones, and spirits at Arnhold Hall during Superstorm Sandy. Photo by Kasia Broussalian/The New School.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the New School community did what we do best: We supported one another.

“It was one of those situations where everyone just picked up and started doing what needed to be done,” said assistant director for residential life, Alisa Bayes. Along with facilities director Tom Whalen, Bayes worked to help lead storm operations at Arnhold Hall, which served as a university-wide recovery site. “Everyone across the university came together to make sure we could offer a safe, warm place where people could get together, do work, and get in touch with their families.”

When the power failed in Lower Manhattan, Arnhold Hall (which has its own generator) was transformed overnight into an open house with cots, food, power and entertainment. But Arnhold Hall wasn’t the only site of activity. All New School dorms except for Williams Street remained open throughout the week—thanks in great part to the dedication of student resident advisors.

“Each of the student resident advisors chose to stay in their dorms every single day,” said Bayes.  “They took students to movies, found them hot showers, did whatever it took to make them comfortable. The RAs were amazing; this effort would not have been possible without them.”

Countless staff members also rose to the occasion during Sandy’s darkest moments. Members of the facilities group traveled as far as the Bronx to find gas for the Arnhold Hall generator, worked and slept on campus for up to 72 hours, and offered the use of their personal vehicles to help students overcome the city’s storm-struck transportation system.

As the weeks go by, New York and The New School will continue to recover from Superstorm Sandy. For more information on recovery at The New School, check out the updated list of FAQs at http://www.newschool.edu/status/hurricane-sandy-faqs/.