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Superstorm Sandy wrecks havoc across campuses

<p>Hurricane Sandy took the East Coast by surprise in October 2012, causing unprecedented damage to New Jersey and to all the University campuses.</p>

Hurricane Sandy took the East Coast by surprise in October 2012, causing unprecedented damage to New Jersey and to all the University campuses.

The 2012-2013 academic year experienced the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, devastation that still affects the lives of New Jerseyans today.

Sandy hit the New Jersey coast around 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 29, and caused enough disruption for the University to cancel an entire week of class, said David Robinson, state climatologist at the University.

The storm’s winds, traveling as fast as 89 miles per hour, toppled trees on College Avenue and Dudley Road and blew off the roof of the Biel Road bus stop. Sandy left about 90 percent of New Brunswick in a blackout, according to Russell Marchetta, city spokesman.

The power outages and a threat of a compromised water system led to the relocation of 3,500 students from the College Avenue, Cook and Douglass campuses to student centers and residence hall lounges on Livingston and Busch campuses, said Greg Trevor, senior director of University Media Relations.

“I know you have been left in the dark, both literally and figuratively,” said George Roitzsch, Residence Life educator, in an announcement to relocating apartment residents.

Although the storm inconvenienced the University, it devastated the shoreline, wreaking havoc to many homes and businesses, including those belonging to members of the University community.

Louis Ruggeri, a University graduate student from Staten Island, said his basement bedroom faced severe damages, destroying many sentimental objects such as yearbooks, pictures and memorabilia of his parents.

“Both of my parents died in a car accident years ago,” said Ruggeri, “A few old board games of theirs were stored in the basement and all of them are gone,” he said. “Talking these things out, these little things that spark little memories, takes the biggest emotional toll.”

But in the wake of disaster, many students stepped up to help by volunteering at shelters Rutgers Student Center and Busch Engineering Science and Technology hall, where many displaced people stayed.

Leaders from student organizations like the Rutgers University Student Assembly and the Student Volunteer Council also fundraised and collected donations for organizations including Habitat for Humanity and The American Red Cross, said Henah Parikh, co-director of the SVC.

RUSA served hot meals for off-campus students, got supplies to shelters via fundraising and on-campus donations and helped keep the student centers open 24 hours a day, said John Connelly, RUSA president.

The Rutgers University Programming Association also held Jersey Strong, a benefit concert that used all proceeds toward the University’s Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. It featured Jersey-based bands, like The Early November and Senses Fail.

“I have friends that live down in Brick that have had trees that fell through their house,” said Dan Trapp, drummer of the band Senses Fail. “It’s a shame, you know, but I definitely feel for anybody who either lost their house or have a ton of damage to their homes.”

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