Who’s Still on Campus
By official count, 718 Lawrenceville students (out of more than 2,300 resident students) and 71 Westminster students (out of about 350) remained on campus as of Oct. 29 after all Monday and Tuesday classes were canceled on Oct. 27 because of the potential dangers posed by Hurricane Sandy, according to Dean of Students Anthony Campbell. All guests were told to leave, and residents who were able to travel home were asked to do so.
Most of the students who are staying on campus are international students or students who live in a state besides New Jersey. Junior behavioral neuroscience and psychology double major Jad Nasrini, an international student, has been attending the university for two and a half years now but has never experienced such a terrible natural disaster.
To prepare, Nasrini said he took some of the food provided by Daly’s, such as sandwiches and water bottles, back with him to another residence hall where he is in the company of some friends. To pass the time they will watch movies and play board games.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this bad,” Nasrini said, “I thought that the two-day break would give me a chance to go do work in the lab.”
Also choosing to stay on campus are some students who live along the New Jersey shoreline whose towns would most likely be evacuated anyway. Some students were concerned about the commute back to campus for Wednesday when classes resume. This is especially of great concern considering N.J. Public Transit and some roadways are closed until further notice.
Students here can sleep easily with the knowledge that Residence Life has prepared its staff members who, in turn, are keeping students informed and safe about Hurricane Sandy.
Resident Advisers (RAs) have been keeping track of students who are still staying in residence halls and coming by regularly to check in on them. According to Kevin Tallaksen, an RA in Gee Hall, duties include making sure residents have enough food and water, moving items away from windows, closing windows and blinds, and making students aware that Rider is currently a dry campus, meaning alcohol cannot be consumed even if the student is over 21.
It is hard not to be reminded of the last big hurricane to hit New Jersey late summer 2011 —Hurricane Irene, which was not as lethal as first thought. This time around, however, RAs were allowed to return home. In Gee Hall, three of the four RAs have chosen to stay.
“During Irene RAs were supposed to stay [on campus], but during Sandy we were almost advised to leave,” Tallaksen said.
West Village Commons, RA Liz Butera said in the case of an entire residence hall’s RAs leaving, the Resident Director would assume responsibility for making rounds. Another West Village Commons RA, James Sheridan, added that they will make rounds about four times throughout the night to make sure students are not drinking.
Students have also done a lot to prepare for Sandy on their own by stocking up on food and water and moving cars from dangerous areas such as beneath trees and O-Lot, which is prone to flooding.
A number of smaller residence halls on the west side of Centennial Lake (including Lake House, Ridge House, University House, some Greek buildings, Omega House and West Village Commons) make up the west side of Lawrencevile campus. Normally, two RAs make rounds to all of the west side; however, with Hurricane Sandy, changes have been made so that RAs and in some cases RDs are in charge only of their own buildings.
Ridge House RA Jacqueline Cunningham felt that residents were being kept well-informed.
“Anything we knew, they knew,” she said.