SUNY System Creates Helps Fund

The SUNY Board of Trustees has recently passed a resolution authorizing SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher to establish a SUNY system-wide Helps Fund.

“Though physical damage to SUNY campuses due to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee was relatively minor, some of our students’ families have not been so fortunate,” said  Zimpher.

The SUNY Helps Fund will accept donations from various foundations, alumni associations, SUNY faculty, staff and others. The donations will go to assisting students significantly affected by the storm and subsequent flooding damage, according to a SUNY press release. The donations will be applied through tuition scholarships.

“SUNY strives not only to be a great university, but also a trusted resource and a good neighbor to the families we serve across New York state,” said Board Chairman Carl Hayden, in the same SUNY press release. “With SUNY Helps, we welcome the opportunity to come to the aid of students’ families who are recovering from the impact of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.”

Hayden believes the SUNY system should be there for students, especially when times are bad. Zimpher shared Hayden’s sentiment and said SUNY should aid students in the spirit of “kinship and community.”

“Some students have been left with nothing but what they brought with them to campus and entire families are without their homes or were otherwise impacted,” said Zimpher. “SUNY stands ready to help those most in need.”

The worst of Hurricane Irene struck New Paltz on Aug. 28. A joint executive order issued by Town Supervisor Toni Hokanson and village Mayor Jason West established a curfew for residents to follow. Hokanson and West said certain measures they instituted during and after the storm were meant to keep students and residents safe while trees continued to fall and the Wallkill River crested at 18.9 feet.

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Provisions included a ban on pedestrian and vehicular traffic, a ban on the sale of alcohol on Sunday and a curfew from 7 p.m. extending to 5 a.m. Monday morning. Nearly 10 inches of rain that doused the area that weekend crippled community power lines and roads days after Hurricane Irene touched down in New Paltz, residents and local officials said.