At this time last week, many individuals and organizations along the east coast were scrambling to prepare for HurricaneAt this time last week, many individuals and organizations along the east coast were scrambling to prepare for Hurricane Irene. Here at Towson University, staff members were working in high gear to carry out student move-in, a complicated event made even more difficult by the impending hurricane. Despite pushing move-in back to preserve student safety, staff remained on-campus throughout the weekend and beyond to assist with the move-in process and ensure that no student or family was turned away from our doors. During the same time, TU served as a Red Cross evacuation site for approximately 600 international workers evacuating Ocean City, Maryland. These individuals took up residence in Burdick Hall and were given food and shelter until it was safe for them to return to the eastern shore.
In the wake of Irene our campus experienced an extended power outage, dozens of downed trees, and some minor infrastructure damage, but we fared better than many. We recovered quickly thanks to the efforts of many staff members who worked overtime throughout the weekend and into the week to run generators and restore power, check buildings for damage, and clean the campus grounds to make them traversable and presentable for the first day of classes, which began as scheduled this Wednesday. Such an opening would not have been possible without the folks in Auxiliary Services, the Office of Public Safety and Facilities Management, and I would like to extend my sincerest thank you to them and everyone else who assisted during our time of need.
I am extremely proud of how our university proactively addressed a situation that caused many others to panic. In addition to providing a safe environment for our students and the greater Maryland community, we learned many important lessons that will enable our response to future emergencies to be even better. Time and time again, when the situation is tough, our campus community shows its ability to come together and deliver great results. Let’s keep doing that and make this a productive fall semester.
James P. Sheehan
Vice President for Administration and Finance & CFO