Queens Magazine

Queens Magazine Fall/Winter 2012/13

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Q U E E N S NEWS Campus Serves as Shelter to Hundreds Following Storm On campus and off, QC has been helping the community to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Although classes were canceled from October 29 through November 1, the college snapped into action right after the storm: Members of Buildings & Grounds and Security—some of whom spent more on travel than they'd earn in that day's pay— worked round the clock to restore power, clear away debris, and repair damage. In addition, these employees provided services to the shelter that the New York City Office of Emergency Management established at QC, one of 10 CUNY schools that took in displaced people. OEM set up shop in FitzGerald Gymnasium, the Dining Hall, and the One Stop Service Center. Nearly 600 adults and children, as well as their pets, found refuge in these facilities, managed, coincidentally, by QC alums Harry Sigmone III and Diane Gilroy. Most of the residents came from the Rockaways; wherever they had been living, all were relocated to longer-term accommodations before Thanksgiving. QC students raised funds, donated food and clothing, and pulled night shifts at the shelter. Students from the Aaron Copland School of Music presented a concert for shelter residents and staff; the Committee for Disabled Students engaged a magician and a balloon twister to entertain kids. Other students participated in projects throughout the city. Meanwhile, QC employees drew on their expertise and contacts. Human Resources collected donations and supplies, and fielded phone calls from the community. "Some calls were from people looking for their relatives," explains Susan Mavrelis (HR). "Others were from individuals and local companies who just wanted to help in any way they could." The Division of Education worked with the PTA at PS/IS 499 to buy supplies for children temporarily placed at that school. Career Counselor Mark Klein enlisted the help of family, friends, and members of his synagogue, Temple Gates of Prayer in Flushing, resulting in significant contributions from local vendors: Oneness FoundationHeart Restaurant brought and served hot food to over 400 individuals in the shelter, while the Queens Health Emporium contributed several cases of water and snacks. Students are also among the people who suffered from the storm. "The investment, allocation, and executive committees of the Queens College Foundation unanimously decided to allot up to $100,000 to help students affected by the hurricane," says Assistant VP Laurie Dorf (Institutional Advancement). "It was a very easy decision. Children in the shelter had the chance to make finger puppets and twist balloons with the help of QC student volunteers. We want to help students with housing, food, and transportation issues to ensure that they remain enrolled in school and take the same number of courses." Grants will be available through June 30, 2013. Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi Visits the College Voted into the Myanmar Parliament last spring, Aung San Suu Kyi is no ordinary lawmaker. A Nobel Peace Prize winner who spent 15 years under house arrest in Rangoon, unable to see her children or even visit her husband on his deathbed, she personified the struggle for democracy in an isolated nation ruled by a military dictatorship. So her appearance at a pair of backto-back events at QC on September 22—part of her first trip to the United States in almost four decades— drew capacity crowds. Suu Kyi started the morning at LeFrak Concert Hall, where QC President James Muyskens and Congressman Joseph Crowley '85 welcomed her. Alumna Carole King serenaded her, leading Rep. Joseph Crowley, Carole King, Aung San Suu the invitation-only audience Kyi, Anjelica Huston, President James Muyskens, in an impromptu version of and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stand "You've Got a Friend"; Anjelica united at LeFrak Concert Hall. Huston read a portion of Suu Kyi's essay "Freedom from Fear." Suu Kyi's eloquence was also in evidence in her response to a student's question about her rationale for becoming a legislator in the government that had persecuted her and so many others. "I don't believe in professional dissidents," she explained. "I think it's just a phase, like adolescence." Next, Suu Kyi went over to Colden Auditorium to address members of the Burmese community in their native language. Some had driven hundreds of miles and waited outside overnight for the opportunity to hear her speak. She also had the chance to hear them. Before she walked on stage, a reporter for a Burmese-language newspaper led the attendees, some 2,000 strong, in a rapturous call-and-response of "Long live Mother Suu Kyi!" QUEENS: The Magazine of Queens College 5

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