Hurricane Sandy Updates

President Fong provides a final update on the Ursinus response to Hurricane Sandy.


Final Update Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.

Dear Campus Community,

Classes and normal operations resumed today. The numbers of students eating breakfast and lunch in Wismer were 80% of normal. Nonetheless for those still traveling, students, faculty, and staff are urged to exercise caution as they make their way to campus. Your safety is paramount, and instructors and supervisors have been urged to be flexible in dealing with absences arising from travel.

Neighboring colleges did suffer extended power outages that resulted in loss of light and heat for up to 24 hours. Ursinus was spared this scenario, but their experience suggests that our own cautious response to the storm was justified because there was no predicting where power outages would occur.

We have some storm damage to roofs and lost 20 trees. Power is still out to Clamer, but residents have been resettled in other rooms on campus. We are grateful for having come through relatively unscathed.

I want to thank those who continued to labor on campus over the last two days, especially members of Student Affairs, Campus Safety, Facilities, and Dining Services. We’re appreciative of faculty and staff who volunteered to take students to their homes and members of the staff who traveled to campus to answer the call for helping hands. Ursinus has many people on whom we can rely to respond in an emergency, and that is our most precious resource.

Bobby Fong


Update Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Dear Campus Community,

Since my message this morning about the resumption of classes tomorrow, I have heard concerns expressed by some students about the difficulty of returning to campus. To clarify, let me emphasize that while we expect to resume normal activities tomorrow, your safe travel is our first concern. We recognize that not all areas were as fortunate as the campus in terms of storm damage or road conditions.

That is why even though classes will take place tomorrow, it is a “soft opening,” and instructors have been urged to be flexible with students whose return will be delayed because of travel hazards.

If you will not be back on Wednesday, please communicate with your instructors so that they can make appropriate accommodations. Do take care.

Bobby Fong


Update Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

Dear Campus Community,

Hurricane Sandy has disrupted power to 1.2 million customers in Pennsylvania. There are some flood warnings, and downed trees are disrupting road travel. The good news is that the storm came through Collegeville and left downed trees and power lines, but the campus was largely spared.

We are preparing for resumption of classes and activities tomorrow, Wednesday, October 31.

Access to residences will begin at 3 p.m. today. There is no power in Clamer and 424 Main, and Residence Life will be contacting students to arrange for alternative living arrangements until power is restored. Dinner will be served today from 3 – 6 p.m.

If you are driving, please use caution in negotiating road hazards on your way back to Ursinus. Because public transportation will be uncertain over the next few days, we understand that there will be delays. Those travelling by plane or train can telephone Campus Safety (610-409-3333) to pre-arrange a shuttle pick-up time if they can make their way to the Norristown Transportation Center. Instructors and supervisors are urged to be flexible in dealing with absences arising from travel. Instructors unable to meet their classes on Wednesday should endeavor to notify their students directly.

Bobby Fong, President


Update Monday at 4:00 p.m.

The strongest winds and rainfall are expected in the Collegeville region between 6 p.m. Monday evening and 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.  Given our concerns regarding falling branches and debris and the strong possibility of power outages, this afternoon we relocated those students remaining on the Ursinus College campus to Wismer Center.  They will be able to take meals without going outside, and in the event of a power outage, the building has back-up lighting, rest rooms, and water.  Staff will be on campus for the duration of the storm, and Campus Safety Officers will be on the premises.

Residences and all campus buildings are locked.  Please look for an update on Tuesday morning about plans to resume classes and activities. Wait for a notification from the College before returning to campus. Daily updates will be posted on the Ursinus web site, e-mail, and text alerts.

Please do not call Campus Safety for information or to check weather conditions. This line must be available for emergency calls.  However, please call Campus Safety if you need assistance (610-409-3333).

Bobby Fong, President


Update Monday at 1:10 p.m.

This message is for all students remaining on campus throughout the storm:

We are evacuating all residential facilities.  All students will be moved to Wismer Lower Lounge.  Main Street residents will be evacuated beginning at 2:00 p.m. Evacuation of other residence halls will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m.

Main Street House Evacuation Procedures

Beginning at 2:00 p.m. vans will be available to assist with moving:

  1. Van 1 – Clamer, Sprankle, Commonwealth
  2. Van 2 –  732, Schaff, Zwingli
  3. Van 3 – Musser
  4. Van 4 – 30/32, Hillel, Shreiner,
  5.  Van 5 – Reimert

Vans will be available at BPS, BWC, New, and Richter/North beginning at approximately 2:30 p.m.

What to Bring

  • Water bottle and non-perishable snacks
  • Bedding and bath supplies, including linens, pillow, towel, and personal toiletries.  Do not forget medications.
  • Clothing, including a warm jacket.
  • Personal items you will need for the duration of the storm, including cell phone and I.D.

All buildings will be inaccessible until further notice. Wismer will have emergency lighting, rest rooms, and water. College staff will be on campus for the duration of the storm, and Campus Safety Officers will make frequent patrols through the building. Limited meals will be provided.

Updates will be posted on the College website.  Call Campus Safety (610-409-3333) for emergencies.


Update Sunday at 5:45 p.m.

Dear Campus Community,

As a safety precaution, many students have left campus as we advised in a previous e-mail. If you have remained on campus and have not already filled out a survey, please do so now:

https://ursinuscollege.wufoo.com/forms/hurricane-sandy-residents

Wismer Dining Services will be open on Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wismer does have partial backup power, and anyone on campus can go there during the day if there is a power outage. Please be aware that if storm conditions appear dangerous, stay where you are unless advised otherwise.

Most campus buildings will be locked on Monday.

Please do not call Campus Safety for information or to check weather conditions. This line must be available for emergency calls.  All updates will be posted on the Ursinus web page.  However, please call Campus Safety if you need assistance (610-409-3333).

We will provide daily updates by web and e-mail. Please look for an update on Tuesday morning about plans to reopen campus and resume classes. We encourage you to wait for a notification from the College before returning to campus.

Bobby Fong, President


The following message went to all students, faculty and staff on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Dear Campus Community,

With the high probability of power outages predicted for the approaching storm, all classes and college activities are cancelled on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Students who can safely leave campus are encouraged to do so. We strongly urge students to leave campus by noon Sunday. Before leaving, be sure room windows and doors are locked and unplug electronics to avoid damage to the devices during power surges.

In the event of a power outage, all remaining Main Street house residents will be relocated to the Field House.  Remaining resident students from other halls may also need to be relocated if conditions merit.Limited dining services will be available.

Instructors are urged to find alternative assignments to substitute for lost class time.

Only those employees whose on campus presence is essential should consider coming to work if they can do so safely.

Daily updates will be posted on the college website.

Please DO NOT call Campus Safety or 9-1-1 for weather updates. It is essential to keep these lines clear for emergencies.

Bobby Fong,
President


Earlier message posted Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

Ursinus College is preparing for the possibility of major flooding and power outages in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. There is a potential for torrential downpours and very high winds beginning Sunday night and lasting until Wednesday or beyond. Members of the campus community should look for updates and alerts by e-mail, on the college web site and via the Emergency Notification System.

Updates on the progress of the storm can be found at the National Weather Service.

Campus Safety offers the following tips:

  • Stay inside and away from windows or doors.
  • Keep doors and windows securely closed.
  • One of the hazards in any tropical storm/hurricane is the danger posed by downed trees and wires.  A wire can be extremely dangerous even though it is not sparking.  If you become aware of such a condition, notify Campus Safety and stay away from it.
  • Have your keys, wallet and cell phone with you at all times.  If you need to evacuate, it is important to have them with you.
  • Keep your cell phone and laptop charged so you have a full battery if there is a power outage.
  • Do not use elevators during the storm.  If there is a power outage, you may get stuck.
  • Please DO NOT call Campus Safety or 9-1-1 for weather updates. It is essential to keep these lines clear for emergencies.
  • Keep a flashlight/lantern available with fresh batteries.
  • If a power outage occurs:
    • Emergency generators will provide hallway and stairwell lighting, as well as fire safety systems.
    • Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges can cause serious damage.
  • During the storm, do not take a shower. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
  • Make good decisions so you are not putting yourself or rescue personnel at unnecessary risk.
  • Campus Safety, Residence Life, Facilities, and Dining Services staff will be on duty throughout the duration of the storm.
  • We encourage all students to subscribe to our Emergency Notification system.   www.ursinus.edu/emergencyalerts
  • We will activate the emergency notification system to provide you with safety information about the storm if conditions worsen. Officers will be on duty at all times to respond to emergency calls, but please keep in mind that both College and local emergency personnel may be experiencing peak demand.
  • Your safety is paramount.  Do not take unnecessary risks to get to campus.

 

Dear Campus Community,

Since my message this morning about the resumption of classes tomorrow,
I have heard concerns expressed by some students about the difficulty of
returning to campus. To clarify, let me emphasize that while we expect
to resume normal activities tomorrow, your safe travel is our first
concern. We recognize that not all areas were as fortunate as the campus
in terms of storm damage or road conditions.

That is why even though classes will take place tomorrow, it is a “soft
opening,” and instructors have been urged to be flexible with students
whose return will be delayed because of travel hazards.

If you will not be back on Wednesday, please communicate with your
instructors so that they can make appropriate accommodations. Do take care.

Bobby Fong

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