By Marty Magaan
“Another World Is Possible”
Those were the words printed on a huge banner in front of St. Jacobi Church in Brooklyn, which served as one of the bases of operations for the Occupy Sandy movement. The words lingered in my head as I walked to the train station and reflected on what I had seen that day while volunteering with my fellow NYIT students.
It was true. While self-interest appears to be the predominant driving force that perpetuates progress in our world, events like Hurricane Sandy remind us of just how powerful we can be when we are motivated by the sincere desire to help a fellow human being. I saw the proof of this in the weeks following the hurricane, when NYIT students and staff came together to help those affected by Sandy.
Below are 5 ways that our NYIT community took action:
1. Park Clean Up
In the immediate wake of the hurricane, NYIT students and staff could already be seen doing their part to help. While our school took the week off to recover, a group of students, along with Deepa Bhalla (Director of HEOP), Jeremy Ducos (Assistant Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development / Director of Greek Affairs), and Josheema Oliver (Assistant Director of Residence Life and Housing), gathered together and helped clean up at Fort Tryon Park.
2. Volunteering with Occupy Sandy
While many areas were lucky enough to only experienced power outages and minor damage, certain areas were left in utter ruin. It was important that our relief efforts reach those areas that were hit the hardest. On the Friday and Saturday after classes resumed, groups of NYIT students and staff volunteered at the Church of St. Luke & St. Matthew in Clinton Hill, and St. Jacobi Church in Sunset Park, where Occupy Sandy had created full-scale operations dedicated to hurricane relief efforts. Volunteers helped unload and organize truckloads of supplies and donations to be sent out to shelters and other neighborhoods. One group of NYIT students and staff drove out to Far Rockaway with supplies and distributed them to people in need. Occupy Sandy also sent volunteers to Staten Island, Coney Island, and other hard-hit areas. They are still in need of volunteers to help with ongoing relief efforts. Visit their website to learn more: http://interoccupy.net/
3. Baking and Distributing Cupcakes
The Bear Hug Club baked cupcakes and drove out to Far Rockaway to distribute them to people in the neighborhood along with other volunteers from Occupy Sandy.
4. Donation Bins & Supplies Drive
Donation bins were placed around campus for students and staff to donate much needed supplies to be sent off to shelters. The School of Education is also sponsoring a drive to collect school supplies for K-12 schools that were affected by the hurricane. Learn what supplies are being requested here: http://www.nyit.edu/index.php/
5. Volunteering Individually
While organizations and clubs within NYIT offered several ways for students and staff to help with hurricane relief efforts, many people took the initiative on their own and found other ways to volunteer. Whether it was working at a soup kitchen or helping with clean up efforts in certain neighborhoods or even just donating money and supplies to local drop off centers, these people understood that they had the power to make a difference, and they took action.
If you volunteered to help with Sandy relief efforts in any way, please let us know about it! Contact the Community Service Center on your campus and tell us your story!
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