Campus joins relief efforts for Sandy victims

Last week, Hurricane Sandy hammered the Northeast, causing more than 100 deaths and $20 billion in damage.

Senior Briana Ciraulo’s home in Long Island Beach, N.Y., is flooded with four feet of water. Several of her friends’ houses burnt down in electrical fires caused by downed power lines.

“My aunt is seven months pregnant with a one-year-old child, and her house is destroyed,” Ciraulo said.

The hardest part for Ciraulo is being separated from her family throughout the crisis, she said.

“It’s hard to watch my family suffer up there,” she said. “But I’m lucky enough no one was hurt. Materials are just materials. They can be replaced.”

Senior Mike Anderson was visiting his family during fall break, but got stuck in Columbia, Md., when his flight back to Miami was canceled.

“The storm was probably the worst storm I’ve ever been in – really windy, really rainy, really intense,” he said. “I’ve never been in a major hurricane.”

Anderson was able to fly back two days later.

“I was definitely worried about school,” he said. “I missed an exam in one class, and the professor was nice enough to let me make it up.”

Sophomore Brandon Brasky’s family also lives in Long Island, but only lost a few trees in the storm.

“There’s nothing they really had to do afterwards,” he said. “We lost one tree, but a landscaper saved the others.”

In the wake of what became commonly known as “Superstorm Sandy,” the UM community has wmade strides to help those affected by the storm.

According to Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs, the university emailed students from the Northeast to see if they needed any help.

“If people need any support, any counseling, any situation, we are there to help,” she said.

The university had teamed up with United Way of Miami Dade to raise money. All donations made to United Way’s Operation Helping Hands will now go to victims of the storm.

Whitely also said the administration is willing to support any organization that wants to fundraise.

Last week, Ciraulo held a small fundraiser on her own and collected more than $500.

“I wanted to get my mind of off things but still help people,” Ciraulo said.

On Monday, the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority will sell $1 raffle tickets for gift cards from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the UC Breezeway to benefit relief efforts as well.