Karamarie Joyce, ’15, Staff Writer
Hurricane Sandy is being called a “once in a generation storm,” whose clouds were spread from Bermuda all the way up the coast line past Hudson Bay in Canada and beyond to the Arctic Circle. This was a storm that affected numerous locations around the world and in turn millions of people. Meteorologists had been tracking the storm for quite some time, trying to prepare viewers for what was coming. However, Sandy cut her own trail of destruction.
Merrimack College did its best to prepare students for the storm with e-mails and alerts days before Sandy hit, alerting students of the seriousness of the storm and the precautions to follow. The closer the storm got to Massachusetts, the more students began to talk about it on campus.
They voiced their concerns and predictions, as well as comparing Sandy to storms past. While the storm was severe and serious, most students had one thing uppermost in mind: Would classes be cancelled? Sunday night, iPhones were being clutched by their owners, not for the purpose of texting, checking Facebook, or Tweeting, but instead for checking and refreshing their Merrimack e-mail account anticipating the message reading “Merrimack College will be closed on Monday Oct.29.”
Time seemed to go by slower than ever Sunday until around 10 p.m., when a text message was sent out to the student body stating “Merrimack College Alert: Due To Hurricane Sandy, Merrimack College will be closed Monday, Oct. 29. All day, evening and graduate classes are canceled.” That was followed by a recorded message sent to all students’ cell phones stating the same information: Classes were not to be held the following day. In the eyes of a college student, having classes canceled is a gift, as they are granted a extra day to sleep in and not have the stresses and pressures of everyday life here at Merrimack College.
In the eyes of institutional leaders and government, canceling classes is not seen in the same fashion. The decision to call off classes for a full day is made to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff of the College. Sandy hit Merrimack College around 3 a.m. Monday and wiped out trees with its fast winds, causing the townhouses to lose power. On Monday afternoon, all students residing in the townhouses were given an hour to pack up their belongings and evacuate.
They were told to stay the night at a friend’s room or to go home. Students living in the townhouses were very frustrated with the way Merrimack chose to handle the situation. “I was very upset about how they told us on such short notice to leave our rooms and find somewhere to stay for the night. Luckily, I had a friend’s room to stay in but what if I didn’t have anywhere to stay? They offered us no temporary housing and just left it up to us to find a place to sleep for the night,” said Michelle Barrett, ’15
Merrimack alerted the students around 10 a.m. on Tuesday with the following message: “Merrimack College Alert: Power has been restored to the townhouses, students may return to their rooms at this time.” With that, students retuned to their rooms. Classes were canceled Tuesday morning, but the campus swung back into normal routine on Wednesday. Merrimack houses many students who call New York , New Jersey and Connecticut home, and the former two states were hit very hard by the storm, so the effects of Sandy reach many of our students in different ways. The college has already prepared students for future storms, offering Murray Lounge as a temporary residential area in the event of a storm.