NJIT students, professors, staff and others from universities throughout the US are descending upon New Jersey this week to eradicate the remaining devastation from Super Storm Sandy. Some two dozen projects located at points as far north as the IHS Development Corporation in Newark and as far south as the Surflight Theater in Beach Haven will receive help. Daily buses leave the NJIT campus filled with students and others in bright yellow t-shirts and even brighter smiles.Not long after Sandy struck, the NJIT’s Alternative Spring Break was conceived to help municipal, social service, community and/or faith-based groups recover from the devastating hurricane. Targeted clean-up was to include buildings, beachfronts, parks, buildings and more, highlighted by NJIT. Assignments would involve cleaning up beaches and/or parks; deconstructing homes (i.e., pulling out wall boards, shoveling mud out of basements); building new structures; finishing work such as painting or simple carpentry; and survey work such as collecting data and information. To date, some 600 volunteers have signed up for projects in Elizabeth and Newark, Toms River, Union Beach, Seaside Heights, Ortley Beach and a dozen more locales. For more information, call 973-642-7831.
Projects include the following:
NJIT engineers will lead a volunteer effort through March 20, 2013, with Future City Inc., 1045 East Jersey Ave., Elizabeth, to analyze the storm-damaged public waterfront areas in Elizabeth and Perth Amboy. Researchers will conduct a physical assessment of storm damage to designated waterfront sections. They’ll interview policymakers and constituents and assess available resources. A findings paper will be written which the localities can use. Issues to be addressed: Can a living waterfront be integrated into the locality's flood management plan? And, if so, where? Managing the impact of flooding and related damages will be examined as well as public access in the future, considering climate change. Sources include NJIT Engineer Colette Santasieri, director of strategic initiatives and Michele McBean, executive director of Future Cities (908.659.0689 or 908.230.9126).
Every day this week some 35 NJIT students, known as the “bucket brigade” will take a 90-minute bus ride down and back from the NJIT campus to rebuild fencing and plant scrub-brushes on dunes in Asbury Park. Come Friday as the fruits of their labors become more visible a small celebration is planned. Jessica Saniewski, a graduate student in NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design is in charge along with Cathy Murphy (703-501-0867).
The NJIT bus will also deposit a similar number of NJIT students through Friday at Long Beach Island’s long-standing and beloved Surflight Theater, 201 Engleside Ave., Beach Haven, ravaged unfortunately by Sandy. Led by COAD grad student Tim Gilligan, the students will clean up, repair and perform light construction work. Surflight Theatre is a non-profit summer stock theatre with a rich local history. For over 60 years, Surflight has been the home for local actors and actresses as well as students getting their feet wet in the world of community theater. Contacts include Gilligan 760-712-5260 or Cory Higgins 609-290-6305.
Two Salvation Army emergency assistance centers-- Hazlet and Ortley Beach-- will see volunteers. In both locations, every morning volunteers will help clients locate and select appropriate products from the emergency assistance center inventory, answer client questions and help clients load the selected products into vehicles. Volunteers will help maintain records of the items distributed and help restock the distribution center. Volunteers will unload and sort donations and ensure that the distribution area is stocked with supplies. For more information about both operations, contact Judith Anderson, volunteer resources manager 908-851-8236.
Earlier in the week, members of NJIT’s men’s track and field team volunteered their brawn and brains to clean up the headquarters of IHS Development Corporation, Newark. Ravaged by hurricanes Sandy and Irene, the building had remained in need of help and students’ efforts. Volunteers removed light debris, lifted moderate boxes and materials and performed minor carpentry repairs. Contact Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436, for more information.