Staying Jersey Strong

In October, our state suffered one of the worst storms that it had seen in a century. After Sandy had hit, it looked like it would be a while until we recovered. I re­member seeing houses gone, de­bris everywhere, and people look­ing so lost, as they had no idea what to do next.

However, out of this natural di­saster, I saw something that I had felt disappeared for a long time: our community spirit. After win­ter break, I couldn’t help but notice that my fellow students were more empathetic and aware toward one another.

Along with other communities banding resources together to re­build, Monmouth stepped up to help. As soon as school was back in session, our student body came together to do what they could to aid the community that we all have become apart of. Greek life held multiple fundraisers, we held different types of food and cloth­ing drives, and at every one I saw my fellow students, along with myself, giving what they could.

“I think that people are help­ing out each other more, and a lot of people are giving. People have been giving money to help those in need, which I think is great,” said Alex Lustig, sophomore. “I really feel that the community is stronger and that has carried through the semester.”

Even though it was a hor­rible tragedy, I feel that a posi­tive change came out of this. Along with a strengthened bond among our student body, there was a change of heart among our students. I see people being a bit friendlier, including myself, and the petty ideas that used to bother us are now moot points.

We have seen what is truly im­portant after dealing with situa­tions out of our control where we had to rely and focus on each other in order to pull through.

One aspect I saw that really showed a shift in our school was the faculty. From the moment I stepped into my first class after we returned, every teacher was asking how we were all handling the situation. Each one of my pro­fessors offered extra office hours, textbooks, and modified their syl­labi in order to help students reach the end of the semester success­fully.

Even professors who lived fur­ther away from the school were making sacrifices to make sure that every student who needed help had access to it, and I think other students would agree that it made the transition back to class much easier after Sandy. Even now they are still acting as a sup­port system for students affected by the super storm.

“Last semester, even though we only missed one meeting for my child psychology class, my teacher was more concerned about safety than about being in class. She sent me the lectures because she knew people were not going to be there,” says Nicole De Fonzo, junior so­cial work major. ”Most of them[the professors] asked [this semester] if anybody was impacted by Sandy. I know that some professors were impacted, as well. So they under­stand what everyone has been go­ing through.”

Even though it has only been six months, so much has been re­built. There have been groups of students and adults braving the cold weather to help repair the de­stroyed communities and beaches to be ready for spring and the up­coming summer. Even citizens from out of state have been here rebuilding the boardwalks. Sandy was a storm that impacted us all, and I’m sure an event that we will never forget.

However, from this I have seen people grow closer, and act a bit more kind as this even a created a large attitude shift in our com­munity. Now every time I see a “Restore the Shore” shirt, or a “Jersey Strong” bumper sticker, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride at how far we have come since Oc­tober. We, Hawks have truly flown together through this storm and have emerged stronger.