Sandy increases community in its aftermath

With over 20,000 undergraduate students at NYU, it has been said that it is difficult to find community, especially in a big city like New York.

Although Sandy has caused thousands to be displaced and relocated in a few central buildings, many students have found that it’s bringing them together in unexpected ways.

From Alec Baldwin's visit Wednesday night in Kimmel to a party in Bobst, the University staff has been working to bring students together and boost morale.

“I went to that Bobst party and it was nice for a lot of reasons,” said College of Arts and Science junior Natalia Lehaf. “It gave us something to do besides sit in our dark rooms, it was really impressive to see NYU pull something like that together last minute, and it showed that the university really cared about making this as relaxing as it can be for the students stuck in a powerless city.”

Lehaf lives on the 12th floor of Palladium and said that there was one outlet that everyone was sharing via two extension cords. She said it allowed her to make new friends.

Due to the storm, the Office of Interactive Media, or HashtagNYU, team is working as a relayer of information and helping connect students said Guido Ditto. The office began this semester with the goal of helping amplify community across the university.

Students have been reaching out to each other and connecting via social media such as twitter and Facebook, but also in person, as many students are living in close quarters with one another in Kimmel and some dorms. Within the rooms of cots, duffles, and students, those who have powerstrips are sharing with strangers to help ensure that everyone has fully charged computers and phones. Students are standing guard over belongings while others go to the bathroom, to get food, or to seek out relief from being inside.

Tisch senior Monica Skoko said that in a university where people can feel unappreciated or unaccounted for, the university gestures are being valued. She said that students living in Kimmel have formed a new community.

“Everyone’s reaction to the hurricane and being forced to stay in Kimmel was mixed, from enjoying the company of friends, to feeling annoyed and uprooted,” Skoko said. “Alec and J Sex showing up really represented the support the university has for the students who weren’t able to get out of the city, and in a way, rewarding the new community that was founded because of it.”

Elaine Fludgate, Evening Operations Manager in Kimmel, said that she was struck by how grateful students have been.

“I mean they’re grateful for hot food and place to sleep, and that we have a staff here,” Fludgate said. “That’s what’s sort of blowing me away. It’s not easy, they’re sleeping on the floor, they have wifi and their cell phones. They’ve just been so grateful and so nice.”

Julie DeVito is a senior editor. Email her at [email protected]