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SUNY Purchase Cleans Up After Hurricane Sandy

This tree on the Purchase College SUNY campus was uprooted by Hurricane Sandy. Photo Credit: Kiley Stevens
A large tree in the woods is completely uprooted after Hurricane Sandy struck Purchase College. Photo Credit: Kiley Stevens

HARRISON, N.Y.— Hurricane Sandy brought an unexpected long weekend to the faculty and students of Purchase College.

While students celebrated the extended weekend with parties and Halloween festivities, the college’s Emergency Response Team and administration were busy ensuring the safety of its residents.

On Friday afternoon, the administration sent a campuswide email announcing the cancellation of Monday and Tuesday’s classes to allow students to travel home safely before the brunt of the storm hit.

“As a result, we estimate only about 50 percent of our resident student population was on campus during the storm,” said Sandy Dylak, director of the Office of Communications and Creative Services.

While surely there were some students studying  by flashlight, most students used the days off to let loose.

“I mainly played guitar, cleaned my apartment, and drank a lot,” laughs Spencer Jackson, 21. “It was more of a vacation,” he said.

Sean Prasso, a sophomore, said there was a feeling of camaraderie.

“Everyone came together,” said Prasso. “We all hunkered down together and played video games. It wasn’t too bad.”

As the students returned to classes Thursday, John Delate, John Delate, associate dean for student affairs, director of residence life and the Purchase College Emergency Response Team are still assessing damages to the campus.

“We have already cleaned a significant amount of the debris from the storm, and we have started the structural repairs,” said Delate. “It will still take a week or so to fully clean all of the downed trees from the storm.  Overall, however, we are quite grateful that the campus was not more adversely affected by the storm.”

The Emergency Response Team kept residents and faculty updated via email on weather conditions, safety precautions, and campus building closures long before the storm hit, starting on Thursday with a precautionary email warning students of the storm’s possible dangers and throughout the duration of the storm. Students were advised persistently by administration to remain indoors and to avoid driving on campus roads.

According to an email sent by Delate to students, only two students suffered minor injuries after a tree struck their car on a campus road.

The Purchase campus did not lose power during the actual hurricane, but lost partial power for less than an hour Thursday morning because of a downed power line at Lincoln Avenue on Anderson Hill Road, according to Delate.

Anderson Hill Road is closed at Lincoln Avenue indefinitely until Con Edison repairs the damaged pole. “Purchase students cooperated fully and deserve a great deal of credit for showing an overall acute sense of responsibility for safety and well-being,” said Dylak. “Purchase is grateful to have fared so well through Hurricane Sandy.”

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