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A view of the Red Cross shelter on the Events Center floor on Sept. 8. The University has helped to care for local residents evacuated in last week's flooding.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Binghamton University aids community, shelters 1,800 evacuees
September 10, 2011Tweet
Hundreds of Binghamton University staff and students have volunteered and joined with the University to shelter and feed more than 1,800 community residents evacuated due to flooding. The Red Cross shelter at the University’s Events Center has housed up to 1,700 people since the rains hit Wednesday. In addition, more than 100 special needs evacuees were cared for at the West Gym on campus by volunteer medical personnel, including dozens of nurses and students from the University’s Decker School of Nursing.
Sodexo Campus Services has provided food for evacuees throughout the sheltering.
The University’s main campus on the Vestal Parkway has been largely spared from flooding, but the University Downtown Center in Binghamton has suffered significant damage and will be closed for an undetermined amount of time. Classes regularly held in the Downtown Center have been reassigned to the main campus and the reassignment schedule is available at http://www2.binghamton.edu/academics/provost/classroom-reassignments.html.
Staff and volunteers have been providing more than food and sheltering needs for the evacuees:
• Students from the University’s Call Center have worked 12-hour shifts manning toll-free numbers established to provide the most up-to-date information to callers
• Entertainment has included performances by the Harpur Jazz Ensemble and all of the University’s a capella groups
• Physics professor Mark Stephens performed a magic show
• A physics student has demonstrated wacky science experiments
• Dozens of students from across campus have come to entertain youngsters
• Volleyball team helped load the helicopter to transport supplies to the Tioga County shelter
• A birthday celebration was held for a brand-new teenager – cake included
• Televisions have been provided to inform and occupy evacuees
Binghamton University President C. Peter Magrath commended everyone involved in the efforts and asked for patience as the campus continues to meet the community’s needs. “As the flood waters begin to recede, we are left once again with the devastating aftermath and the opportunity to reflect upon how Binghamton University and the Southern Tier have become partners, in both good times and bad,” he said. “We expect to begin tracking back toward our primary academic mission as soon as possible. I extend my gratitude and admiration to those folks — you know who you are — who have contributed to this colossal endeavor in ways for which I cannot compensate. It is at these moments that I am both humbled and proud to serve as president here. And I am proud of the individuals — from both campus and community — who work tirelessly to support the needs of the Southern Tier.”