Like a scene from the movie “2012,” Hurricane Sandy swept across the East Coast of the U.S. in late October, leaving devastation, suffering and displacement in its wake.
However this was far from the experience of eight alumni living on the East Coast.
Most were only inconvenienced by the storm while others weren’t affected at all.
At George Washington University (GW) in Washington, D.C., Sandy was simply an opportunity to have some fun.
“Once classes were cancelled, there was plenty of screaming through the hallways,” Daniel Edgren, ’11, said.
“Everyone just stocked up on junk food and alcohol and burned through their Hulu and Netflix subscriptions. I ate my way through three containers of Oreos.”
GW junior Marco Siragusa, ’10, said that many students saw the storm as a two-day party.
Analise Rivero, ’09, who also attends GW, said there was no real reason to cancel school.
“There were rumors that the school was on the same electrical grid as the White House so our power didn’t go out,” she said.
Siragusa agrees there was no reason to cancel school.
“The storm that we had in July was worse than Hurricane Sandy because we actually lost power,” Siragusa said.
He added that he still had to go to cross-country practice despite the cancellation of school.
Cabot Jackman, ’12, described his experience as “underwhelming.”
Currently attending Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y, Jackman was expecting something memorable but got exactly the opposite.
“We did not lose power, we did not have to evacuate and classes were (unfortunately) not cancelled,” he said.
Hurricane Sandy brought only a light-to-medium drizzle and some high winds to upstate New York, he said.
“I got a few friends together and we went out kite flying.”
The greatest inconveniences for many alumni were the loss of power and the wait in line for gas.
In Manhattan, Victoria Loustalot, ’03, lost power around 6 p.m. the night that Sandy hit land.
“People on our block were selling coffee from their home pots for $10 a cup—like adult lemonade stands,” Loustalot, who lives in the West Village, said.
“In any other neighborhood, they probably would have been sharing their hot coffee, free of charge. But not in the West Village.”
Sydney Wasserman, ’03, who currently lives in Greenwich Village, also experienced a power outage that lasted for a week.
She stayed with her cat and a powerful flashlight in her apartment the whole time, going to the gym uptown to shower.
Wasserman said she was most surprised by the two-to-three block lines for the gas station.
Josh Borg, ’90, waited over an hour in line for $40-50 worth of gas in Union County, N.J.
“It was a flashback to the late ‘70s during the oil embargo,” he said. “Many folks waited (longer than two hours) and didn’t get any.”
Borg lost power for seven days because of extremely high winds.
Given no power and below freezing temperatures, Borg decided to drive an hour away to stay at a hotel for a couple of days until a generator could be secured to run heat in his house.
At New York University (NYU) the power also went out, and classes were cancelled for a week.
The only place students at NYU could charge phones and get hot food was at the Kimmel Center on campus.
“It’s a madhouse in here. It feels like literally every student at NYU is trying to snag the last wall plug in the building,” Camille Getz, ‘12, said the day after the storm hit.
Getz said that she had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to get food, and when she got to the front of the line, it looked like a homeless shelter.
“They were just pushing students through a line and giving them all the same thing (pasta),” Getz said. “It’s pretty much our one meal a day that they’ll give us; we’re expected to eat the food that we stocked up on during the day.”
After about three or four days without power, many students evacuated to escape the cold temperatures and to get water.
Getz was one of them, going up to Barnard College for a night and then staying in the house of the CEO of JCrew with her cousin.
In the end, Getz didn’t suffer, though.
At the CEO’s house she had housekeeping service and private chefs.