New York City faced an unprecedented weather disaster when Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, made landfall in southern New Jersey on October 29, wreaking havoc across multiple states. Destructive winds, flooding, a widespread and prolonged power outage, and a transit system shutdown created daunting challenges for the mid-Atlantic region. In response, members of the Law School and NYU communities joined forces to help in a number of ways.
Within a day or two, NYU Law students were already mobilizing to act. For example, when Christine DiDomenico ’13 heard that homebound elderly residents of the nearby Washington Square Village apartment complex had no power, running water, heat, or elevator service, leaving them stranded in apartments as high as 17 floors up, she recruited fellow students to help. They filled and refilled five-gallon water jugs, carrying them up and down the stairs for the purpose of putting drinking water in containers and replenishing toilet tanks for residents with limited mobility. Eventually the National Guard arrived with ready-to-eat meals, which students helped to distribute as well. The NYU Law volunteers also assisted in delivering food and water to occupants of 505 LaGuardia, a 30-story building whose residents faced similar challenges, before moving on to more locations in Lower Manhattan to help in other ways.
As the city and the region slowly recover from the lingering effects of the storm, the Law School and NYU continue to provide assistance to those in need. Several student organizations are organizing food and clothing drives, including the Student Bar Association, whose annual food drive customarily happens before Thanksgiving and is well timed this year to help in Sandy’s aftermath. OUTLaw, NYU Law’s LGBT student organization, held a bake sale on November 8 to support the Ali Forney Center, a nonprofit organization providing housing and other services for homeless LGBT youth; the nonprofit’s drop-in center in Chelsea, a block from the Hudson River, was destroyed by floodwaters. Other students have contributed to cleanup efforts in areas affected by the storm.
The wider University is also doing its part. Earlier today, NYU’s Office of Civic Engagement held a “Stuff the Trolley” donation drive at the Kimmel Center, inviting the NYU community to load donations of food, clothing, blankets, and batteries onto the iconic NYU Trolley for immediate distribution. The University has set up a hurricane relief page with links to other opportunities to help. The Law School’s Student Affairs homepage also includes a set of links giving information on further volunteer options.
Posted on November 9, 2012