Recovering from Hurricane Sandy

To: The FDU Community

From: Sheldon Drucker, Interim President

Date: November 9, 2012

Our hearts go out to all those who have suffered so much from Hurricane Sandy. We have watched with great sadness as homes and landmarks were damaged and destroyed, as lives were upturned with millions losing heat and electricity, as travel and transport were severely disrupted, as schools were closed and businesses imperiled and, most horrifying, as lives were tragically taken. We send our thoughts and our prayers to all those who have been affected by this catastrophic storm.

At Fairleigh Dickinson University, we are beginning to now return to normalcy. There is so much to be grateful for. We are fortunate to have experienced only minor damages and problems. This is due partly to good fortune, but it's also due to an incredible planning effort. Days before the storm hit, our emergency team was working overtime planning for almost every possible scenario. For example, we had generators ready and fuel in abundant supply well in advance of the storm. As much as one could be ready for such a massive blow, we were.

Then, as the storm hit, we had many devoted people who remained on hand to handle whatever problem emerged. During times like this, strong communities pull close together and that is what happened here. The teamwork was incredible to watch. All who were called upon to serve the institution were extraordinary in every way - from the provosts to public safety officers, from residence life staff to facilities personnel, from food preparers and servers to custodians who kept the campuses clean - and countless others. Over a thousand students remained on campus and we had so many caring people who supported them and kept them safe, warm, dry and well fed. We also had people who worked hard clearing debris, making repairs, maintaining generators, safeguarding equipment and buildings, and on and on.

I am so thankful for all of your efforts. Some of you were facing your own personal hardships, but you still were here for FDU. And I gratefully thank the families of community members who helped them to serve FDU and its students. Without your sacrifice and devotion, without your willingness to share your loved ones with this institution, we could not have endured so well.

As we now resume the semester, we draw upon our compassion, our resolve and our agility. There is still so much to do. I know our incredible faculty will respond to the disruption with sensitivity and creativity. I know dedicated employees will unite together, continuing to support each other in our collective efforts for our students and in our personal challenges stemming from the lingering impacts of the storm. I know we will accommodate students and staff who need our flexibility and understanding. And I know that our students will always remember how FDU was there for them even under the most difficult circumstances possible.

At the same time, FDU has and will continue to extend its reach to help others outside the community. It is heartwarming to see our spirit of service, and I have been inspired by faculty, staff and students who are volunteering to support nearby residents, join food drives and other efforts, clean up damaged areas and help our region recover as quickly as possible.

At FDU, we often have the opportunity to make a difference but in such a crisis, we have an even greater opportunity to show how special we are. Watching our efforts on behalf of our community and our region, I have never been more proud to be part of this great University.

We will always remember the tragic devastation of Hurricane Sandy, but thanks to you we also will remember the dedication and the inspiration of our incredible FDU community.