Hurricane Irene disrupts Welcome Week, move-in

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The College braced for the worst, but from the moment Category 1 storm Hurricane Irene hit campus on Saturday night to the moment it cleared as a tropical storm Sunday morning, it spared the College much of the impact felt by other regions.

The storm’s primary effects on campus were the cancellation of some Welcome Week events — including Convocation — and the postponement of upperclassman move-in day and the first day of classes. Classes were postponed until Wednesday, but officials changed their mind Monday afternoon and postponed classes until 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“The campus did not sustain any significant damage as a result of the storm,” Stacy Schuster, executive director of college relations, said in an email.

No injuries were reported from the storm, said Lions’ Emergency Medical Service (LEMS) training captain Manil Shah, junior biomedical engineering major.

Other areas of the region were not so lucky, The Times of Trenton reports. A Princeton First Aid and Rescue squad member died Monday from injuries sustained while searching a submerged car during the hurricane. The Trenton Transit Center flooded, and all service was halted as of Monday. Large swaths of the state are without power, including sections of Ewing Township.

“Our house is without power for the next week,” said Brian Guo, senior finance major, who lives off Green Lane.

Students on campus during the hurricane were instructed not to leave their dorms from 11 p.m. Saturday until approximately 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, when Sean Stallings, executive director of Residential Education and Housing, sent out an email lifting the “shelter in place” order.

ResEd instructed students to notify student staff if they planned to leave the building during the storm. Students were also told to sign out on a sheet provided in their residence hall and note when they left and where they were going.

Hallway signs advised students to take precautions when leaving the dorms. A student (right) walks the boarded link between Travers and Wolfe halls. (Matthew Mance and Tim Lee/Staff Photographers)

Police were stationed outside freshmen buildings — Cromwell Hall and Travers and Wolfe Halls — during the worst of the storm to ensure freshmen didn’t venture into the hurricane.

“We went outside and hung out on the steps and talked to the cops outside, because it’s unbelievably hot on the floor,” said Jacob Andriola, freshman communication studies major and Wolfe 10 resident, who left the building at about 2 a.m. with friends from his floor.

Beyond that, “we kind of camped out in my room,” Andriola said.

“We watched three movies in a row,” added Mariah Black, freshman psychology major.

Students were provided with two meals Saturday night to sustain them for the duration of the “shelter in place” order. Students could pick up their meals, which consisted of bagels, turkey sandwiches, fruit, juice, water and snacks, at T-Dubbs.

Six EMTs were stationed at the LEMS response room in Decker Hall for the duration of the hurricane.

“We were prepared for the worst. We were prepared for any emergency to happen on campus,” Shah said.

For more than 24 hours, the EMTs stayed in the response room, equipment fully charged in case of power outages, waiting for emergency calls that—by and large—did not come.

“Playfair was probably more dangerous than Hurricane Irene to students on campus,” said EMT Megan Wyles, sophomore biology major.