**Update: In this effort, the SUNY Impact Foundation raised more than $30,000 for Hurricane Harvey and future disaster relief. Read the full story.
The news is well known by now. Hurricane Harvey has torn through Houston and the southeast corner of Texas bringing flooding the likes of which we’ve never seen before. Rainfall has dropped more than 50 inches of rain in areas in and around Houston, displacing thousands of people from their homes and businesses for a long time. The connection is here at SUNY as well, as hundreds of our students come from Texas.
Seeing this devastation brings a call to action to those around the United States to come together and lend a helping hand, and this is something that all of us are ready and willing to do. At SUNY, we help our neighbors however we can.
News was recently released by MARAD, the United States Maritime Administration, that our own Maritime College’s training ship, the Empire State VI, will be heading down to Texas to assist with the recovery efforts. Coinciding with this announcement, Governor Cuomo announced a SUNY statewide collection drive to be hosted at SUNY Plaza in Albany this week, as well as online, collecting cash donations to be converted into needed supplies and delivered to Texas aboard the Empire State VI. SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson and SUNY Maritime College President Michael A. Alfultis, RADM were key players in organizing this effort.
The Empire State VI’s mission to Texas will last 30 days, with an option for an additional 30 days upon request by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“For more than a week now, we have seen the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey continue to take its toll on Southeast Texas. We have kept in our thoughts and prayers a city whose infrastructure has been devastatingly compromised and whose residents have experienced terrible loss,” said Chancellor Johnson. We have also seen our nation at its best, as communities across the country have come together to offer their support. With the Empire State VI heading to Beaumont next weekend, SUNY has a new opportunity to contribute as well. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his support, and to President Alfultis and the Maritime community for leading this relief effort on SUNY’s behalf.”
“Harvey’s scale and impact has been far-reaching and we, as a college, are hopeful that the arrival of the Empire State VI and these donated items will help in the recovery efforts that will take many months to complete,” said Rear Adm. Michael Alfultis, president of SUNY Maritime. “We are glad to support the recovery efforts in any way we can.”
Together in this effort, our hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, and staff can band together with their campus communities and become engaged with the nation as a whole. Civic engagement is more than just voting in an election; it is opening your eyes to the world and doing something about it.
* To continue to amplify the power of SUNY, a donor seeded a SUNY Strong fund to enable SUNY to respond to natural disasters. Going forward, donations made to the SUNY Strong fund will be used to aid victims and communities of Hurricane Harvey and/or future natural disasters. Learn more about SUNY Strong via the Impact Foundation
Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.