A Message from President Judd about Hurricane Irma

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Dear Sarah Lawrence College Community,

As you know, over the past week, the College closely monitored the events associated with Hurricane Irma and we have reached out to SLC students of whom we were aware with families living in affected areas. Thanks to the foresight of the Study Abroad and Exchange Program Office, we were able to evacuate the 16 students in the SLC Havana program last Thursday along with the director and associate director of the program. The students are here now in Yonkers continuing their work together, with support from staff in Operations and Facilities, our faculty, and the Dean of College staff. We are working to determine when they may be able to return to Havana.

It appears, at least initially, that members of the SLC Community and their immediate families are safe. Yet, Irma is still running its course as a tropical storm and in its wake millions are now without power, and in some instances without safe shelter. We know from news reports that dozens of people throughout the Caribbean lost their lives to this immense storm. And as with Hurricane Harvey, we know that friends, family, and members of the larger Sarah Lawrence community will be dealing directly with the devastation wreaked by this storm in the weeks and months to come, as are our colleagues at colleges and universities in the path of the storm.

The start of this academic year has coincided with one of the most intense Atlantic hurricanes on record (Irma); with another (Harvey) that delivered the highest rainfall totals on record for a hurricane reaching US shores; and with the strongest earthquake to strike Mexico in the past century. Financial contributions are one way of providing immediate help. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter have launched the “One America Appeal” to raise and get funds directly to communities in the US recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Numerous charities have initiated relief operations throughout the Caribbean and in Mexico, site of last week’s massive earthquake. One such agency accepting donations is DirectRelief.

Other initiatives will emerge over the course of the year such as alternative spring break rebuilding projects that will provide tangible relief on the ground. I hope that we will also focus on our strength as an academic institution and the opportunity and responsibility of using our educational resources to address the multiplicity and range of challenges related to events such as these. Doing so may allow us individually and as a community to contribute to solutions.

Yours,

Cristle

Cristle Collins Judd, President
president@sarahlawrence.edu