Reflections on Hurricane Sandy

For the second year in a row, Halloween was put on hold at Lehigh thanks to a storm that knocked out power to the campus.  Hurricane Sandy tore through Bethlehem, and although we are very lucky compared to other areas around the East Coast, Lehigh did suffer some damage thanks to the storm’s powerful winds.

Below are some images of storm damage on campus, courtesy of LUPD (unless otherwise indicated).  Also included are staff and student reflections on the effects of Sandy, both here on campus and at their homes.

“A few of my residents starting asking me if they could go home days before Provost Pat Farrell announced school would be closed on Monday and Tuesday. When I heard the word that classes were going to be canceled, I suggested that they go home because with no power at school, it would be better for them to go home. Most of them got away from campus on Sunday night, but those that stayed realized a couple days later that it would be better to spend time with friends and family at home.  On Monday night, at the peak of high winds, Sandy managed to uproot one of the trees in the courtyard causing it to fall onto Beardslee. Luckily no windows were damaged and no one was injured, but it left some nice scars on the side of the building.”  – Matt Raborn, Class of 2013

A fallen tree rests against power lines in the off campus area behind the Centennial I Complex and Rathbone Dining Hall.

“We lost power late Monday evening and evacuated Taylor just before noon on Tuesday, staying with my sister and her family just outside of Philly overnight. While it certainly wasn’t so convenient, it pales in comparison to what so many people have gone through over the past week.” – Rabbi Seth Goren, Director of Jewish Student Life, Associate Chaplain, and Residential Fellow in Taylor College

A massive tree beneath Coppee Hall was completely uprooted by Hurricane Sandy.

“Hurricane Sandy had a greater impact on me than I thought it would have. I went home the minute I found out classes were cancelled, and ended up not having power, heat, or running water at my house for the entire week, up to now. At first I was complaining, but driving around in my neighborhood and local areas and seeing the devastation the storm had caused, it really made me thankful and showed me how blessed my family and I were to survive the storm in good health, and that power and heat were the only things we lost. Many other people were much less fortunate.”  –  Ralph Jean-Noel, Class of 2015

A tree outside of Packer Memorial Church and Chandler-Ullman knocks down “The Temple,” a metal sculpture by Mary-Ann Unger that was a part of the Philip and Muriel Berman Sculpture Gardens.

“Unfortunately, Hurricane Sandy went right through Long Beach Island, NJ where my family owns a house on the bay. I have since gone to see the house and was shocked by the devastation caused to the area. It was a terrible sight to see people moving all of their possessions out to the curb, because the storm destroyed everything they own.  But the morale even in our neighborhood was incredible. Everyone wanted to help their neighbors, and the policeman and trash men were in great moods, willing to answer any questions or lend a hand whenever possible.”  –  Alex Stephanou, Class of 2015

A tree knocked down by the storm rests on a car in the Mohler Lab parking lot.

“I think what has impacted me most about Hurricane Sandy was seeing the devastation to the shore back home in NJ. I have so many amazing memories there growing up, and knowing people who lost their homes really made everything a lot harder to deal with.”  –    Sam Soto, Class of 2013

Fallen trees outside of the Psi Upsilon fraternity house on “The Hill” provide dramatic testimony to the power of the storm that ripped through campus.

“It was incredible just how empty Brodhead House felt once everyone finished moving out during the power outage. Just goes to show that that home-away-from-home feel of a residence hall is not an intrinsic characteristic of the building, but an atmosphere which every hall mates’ presence is vital for.”  –   Andrew McGarry, Class of 2015

Students displaced from their residence halls found shelter in Grace Hall and later the UC while waiting for power to be restored to campus. (image by Mowffq Mohammad)

Despite the damage at Lehigh and at home, Lehigh students are always quick to find the true moral to the story…

“Hurricane Sandy helped me to realize that life goes on in some pretty amazing ways even without the luxury of convenience. People caring for people helps the world go round. Love of your fellow man/woman is where real POWER comes from, even without electricity.”  –  Dana Mendes, Class of 2013