Queens College’s response to Hurricane Ida

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The remnants of Hurricane Ida hit New York City hard on September 1st, 2021, leaving the city in bad shape and displaying crucial flaws in its infrastructure. In the hurricane’s aftermath, many apartments and subway stations were flooded, cars were left abandoned on the roads and tragically, lives were lost.

Queens College was not spared from the hurricane’s effects. At 11:15 PM on September 1st, President Frank Wu, as well as the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Hendry, sent out a notice that the campus would be closed the following day, and all in-person classes would be conducted virtually. Although there aren’t many in-person classes happening in general due to COVID, not being able to come to campus on Sept. 2nd did cause a few setbacks. For example, the library being closed meant that anyone with an appointment to attend the library on Thursday was no longer able to go. The email also mentions that the campus was open for essential personnel, such as those conducting research on rainwater impact, but other than that, staff was expected to work remotely.

On Thursday, the college sent out an email that campus would reopen the next day, but, unrelated to the storm, there were no classes scheduled for Friday, September 3rd, until Wednesday, September 8th. This was due to Labor Day and the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Even though the campus was open, having no classes helped give the college more time to recuperate from the storm. It seems that the campus hadn’t fully recovered, as an email was sent out which stated, “Buildings & Grounds and Public Safety continue to work diligently on affected campus spaces.”

Despite this, there is little information on exactly how the campus was hit by the hurricane. The reason cited for the closure is “an abundance of rainwater on the Queens College campus.” It’s unclear if there was severe flooding or power outages, but it can be assumed that places the students and faculty occupy were not affected to an extreme degree because the campus was open the following day. And essential personnel were still able to come in on Thursday to conduct research, which seems to mean the campus wasn’t uninhabitable.

Queens College reserved space for affected persons. As reported by QNS, the student union became a disaster recovery center. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, opened the center to help those in need of assistance due to flooding or damage in their homes caused by the hurricane. President Wu told QNS, “It is vitally important to help our neighbors gain easy access to the federal assistance they need to mitigate the horrific impact of the recent weather.” Flushing Congresswoman Grace Meng praised the center by calling it a “vital resource to ensuring that they get the help they need and deserve.”

Thankfully, the campus has been open and functioning since September 3rd, and hopefully soon we can fully return to campus following the past year of remote learning.

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