Responding to Sandy: Faculty Expertise, Student Reporting, Volunteer Service

Nov. 5, 2012Bookmark and Share
Shattered boardwalk lining Rockaway Beach Boulevard Image Credit: Maura R. O'Connor/The New York World
Shattered boardwalk lining Rockaway Beach Boulevard
Image credit: Maura R. O'Connor/The New York World

Researchers at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have been explaining to the media and public how weather systems converged to make Sandy so powerful, and how the rising sea levels caused by climate change have sharply increased the destructive potential from such storms on the New York region.

At the Mailman School of Public Health, faculty members with expertise in disaster response and in post-traumatic stress disorder provided context and commentary to the news media, and discussed the environmental risks and ethical issues that cropped up in the storm's aftermath.

In the aftermath of Sandy, students from Columbia’s School of Nursing Entry to Practice program (ETP) joined with Team Rubicon—a nonprofit that sends military veterans and medical professionals into crisis situations—to help victims in the Rockaways, bringing medical supplies, mops, bleach, baby food and formula, garbage bags, carbon monoxide detectors, face masks and gloves, and cleaning basements and garages, shoveling sand away from houses and cars, and ripping up molded floor tiles.

It wasn't only Columbia faculty working to explain the storm's impact. At Columbia Journalism School, student reporters and photographers hit the streets to chronicle the city's preparations before the storm and, later, its aftermath. Their work can be seen at The Columbia Journalist. In addition, The New York World, the online news site that operates from the school and covers the city, sent out its own reporters to cover the destruction in the Rockaways in Queens and in flooded Coney Island.

On the Morningside campus Monday, dozens of faculty, staff and students volunteered for an emergency blood drive held in Low Library's rotunda. Despite a long line, the volunteers sat patiently waiting to do their part.

They are among a number of Columbians who are pitching in to provide aid to the storm-wracked region. Fraternities have been collecting water and canned goods for distribution, and the Student Council at the School of General Studies organized a housing effort to connect students without a place to stay. These efforts can be found at Help With Hurricane Recovery, for Columbians and non-Columbians alike.