NYU Unites After Hurricane Harvey


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534 NYU students in coastal Texas and 60 in Louisiana live in areas directly affected by Hurricane Harvey.

By Caroline Haskins, Deputy News Editor

Following Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in the Gulf Coast region of the United States on Aug. 25, NYU and its students are now engaged in efforts to help students and non-students alike who were impacted. According to NYU spokesman Matt Nagel, 534 students in coastal Texas and 60 students in Louisiana live in areas directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey. He said that as of Sept. 2, no students have contacted the university to inform them that they will be returning to campus late. Returning students to NYU can appeal their financial aid package, but it is unclear as to whether students impacted by Harvey will be eligible.

“It is too early to tell whether we have anyone who needs take advantage of the additional aid,” Nagel said. “There is a process in place through the Financial Aid Office and we encourage anyone who may find himself or herself in an extreme circumstance to reach out to them for assistance.”

Nagel was unable to confirm whether NYU had reached out to students in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and India — which were also recently affected by extreme weather events.

“Any time we are made aware of a situation that might impact a student or a group of students, the university tries to reach out and make them aware of the resources they have available to them,” Nagel said. “We would ask that the university community reach out to Student Affairs or the Wellness Exchange if they are aware of students that may have been impacted by events in another part of the world.”

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Marc Wais sent an email on Aug. 25 — the day Harvey made landfall in the Houston region — to affected students informing them that there will be no academic penalization due to travel delays, as well as providing contact information for the NYU Wellness Exchange. Mary Erina Driscoll, the interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at The City College
of New York, has researched students who are impacted by natural disasters. She said that college students face particular challenges in the wake of a natural disaster such as Harvey.

“Most students will receive reassuring news — we hope — but others may learn of the deaths or injuries among friends and families,” Driscoll said. “It’s also true that students may find their financial situation has changed overnight, especially if their parents’ home was used as a source of equity for their tuition. Individual students will likely need support of all kinds.”

CAS senior and Houston native Rohan Shah was one of the students who received the email from Wais.

“I’ve had to reschedule my flight three times,” Shah said on Aug. 30 when the storm was still active. “I don’t know about other NYU students in Houston. However, it is worth noting that Bush Intercontinental Airport opened for commercial flights at noon [Aug. 31], and Houston Hobby Airport opened [Aug. 30].”

Various NYU student groups are heading efforts to assist victims of Harvey. Lauren Serritella, Steinhardt senior and president of NYU’s Greek Panhellenic Council, said that Kappa Kappa Gamma is organizing a sticker fundraiser for Harvey. NYU Divest issued a statement of solidarity with the victims of Harvey with donation links to relief efforts. Shah, who is also a member of NYU Red Cross, said that the group will be raising money for Harvey relief this upcoming school year.

CAS freshman Charlie Kolczynski is planning an item collection campaign in Brittany Residence Hall with her Resident Assistant Sai Konkala, a Tisch senior.

“Especially with this political climate where many Texans feel like they only have each other, I thought they needed to know other Americans are on their side and ready to help,” she said. “NYU is a great community of generous people and with move in and Welcome Week ending now, everyone will be in good spirits.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 5 print edition. Email Caroline Haskins at [email protected]