Northeastern unites for Hurricane Sandy relief effort

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has touched many Northeastern students in a very personal way.

Joe Skrocki, for example, a senior architecture major from Ocean County, N.J., was stuck in Boston for the storm. “It got really tough to see everything happening on TV without being able to do anything,” he said.

Soon after the storm passed and it became evident just how much damage Sandy had inflicted on oceanfront communities in New York and New Jersey, Skrocki and a former classmate began collecting blankets, warm clothing and other supplies. On Nov. 11, they drove a donated van to a relief center in New Jersey and delivered the goods.

Skrocki and his friend have continued to collect donations — which can be dropped off at the Center for Community Service in 172 Curry Student Center or the LGBTQA Resource Center in 328 Curry — and deliver the supplies to those in need.

From left, Sydney Palinkas, CSSH ’14, Sarah Lucey, CSSH ’13, and SGA president Peter Petrin, CSSH ’13, move winter clothes donated for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Photo by Brooks Canaday.

Theirs is one of many Northeastern-based Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The number of activities has inspired the formation of a coalition group which has a goal of making campus initiatives more coordinated and effective. Huskies Restore the Shore, a coalition of students and organizations involved in the relief effort, is holding an open meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in 16 International Village.

“We’re seeing a lot of efforts on campus, which is awesome, and many have been really successful,” said Zach Marino, a senior international affairs and human services major who created a Facebook group to coordinate relief efforts. “But a lot of these groups aren’t talking to each other. We thought it would be best to bring together everyone who has been working on these kinds of projects, so we can talk about what has worked and what hasn’t, then come up with a long-term plan.”

It is important for the relief effort to last beyond the immediate aftermath of the storm, Marino said, a lesson that lingers after disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

“After the first couple of months, the money starts to dry up and the collective consciousness starts to fade away,” he explained. “That’s where they’re going to need a lot of help, when it comes time to rebuild homes and get moving again.”

Several student groups, including those created specifically in response to Sandy, are working to help storm victims. Student Affairs, for example, has created a website with information on organizations responding to the storm as well as resources for students who live or work in the New York City area.

On Saturday evening, the all-female a cappella group Treble on Huntington will host a benefit concert to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief. The group has already raised about $1,200 and hopes its superhero-themed concert, “It’s Aca-Heroes!” can match or exceed that amount. The concert begins at 6:30 p.m. in AfterHours;  proceeds will go to the Stephen Siller Tunner to Towers Foundation, an organization raising money for storm victims in New York and New Jersey.

“I’m from Staten Island and since I can’t be home to help, I figured this was a way to give back,” said Brianna Appel, the concert organizer and a third-year communication studies major. “Even after seeing the damage when I was home for Thanksgiving, it’s still hard to believe.”

The sorority Delta Zeta is collecting donations of money, cleaning supplies, household items and toiletries, blankets, towels, school supplies and clothing — especially jackets and sweaters — for the town of Little Ferry, N.J., where a former sorority member lives. Members of the group delivered the first batch of supplies over Thanksgiving weekend . They will be collecting more donations on the ground floor of the Curry Student Center from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, and from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday.

“We have several sisters from our chapter whose hometowns and loved ones were affected by Sandy, so it just seemed logical that we would set up a drive and do what we can,” said sorority member Samantha Sheridan.

Other student groups, including the sorority Delta Phi Omega, will be collecting donations of money and clothing on the ground floor of the student center and at other locations around campus.