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Hurricane Sandy Arrives, Bringing More than Rain and Wind to Campus

By David Fialkow ’15

Dubbed Frankenstorm by weather experts and the media, Hurricane Sandy made a frightening impact throughout the Northeast this fall, hitting coastal New Jersey and New York City particularly hard with flooding storm surges and high winds.

Swarthmore students made the most of the storm thanks to a combination of generator power, coordination of dining services, and high spirits. The College received much praise for its communications before, during, and after the storm.

Sunday, Oct. 28, 3:13 p.m., brought news that virtually every student found exciting: Classes were canceled for two days, shifting midterms, problem sets, and other homework to two days later.

While some students used this time to catch up on sleep and relaxation, just as many used the extra time for work.

Although power was lost and then restored to several dorms off campus Monday afternoon, most campus housing did not lose power until 8:06 p.m.

Fortunately, dining services’ contingency meal plan served all students and was met with praise by most members of the campus community. After lunch on Monday, students took home deli items for dinner.

By midday Tuesday, still without electricity, Sharples Dining Hall was open, powered by a generator and serving hot food. Swarthmore’s facilities, public safety, dining services, and residential life offices worked around the clock to ensure students were safe and well cared for no matter what Hurricane Sandy brought to the region.

Power eventually came back to most dorms Tuesday, 19 hours after the original main outage. Despite this inconvenience, most students were already reflecting on the overall experience with amusement.

“The extra time gave my friends and me the opportunity to talk, unplugged from our devices, while eating junk food and enjoying the moment,” says Wynter Lastarria ’15. “Being away from electronic devices is freeing, and everyone knows calories don’t count when there’s a hurricane!”

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