Nov. 12, 2012
NYC financial engineering students regroup after hurricane
Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan (CFEM) is finally returning to normal after major disruptions from Hurricane Sandy.
The building at 55 Broad St., a block from the New York Stock Exchange, was closed Oct. 29 and reopened Nov. 9, according to CFEM Director Victoria Averbukh. CFEM offices, located on the third floor, were not damaged.
"ORIE staff have been working extraordinarily hard, in very difficult conditions, to coordinate as quick a return to normalcy as we can manage at CFEM," said Adrian Lewis, director of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering.
Classes at CFEM were canceled the week of the storm and resumed Nov. 5 in temporary space on East 34th Street borrowed from Cornell's ILR School.
Close to 50 financial engineering master's students were scattered around Manhattan, the other boroughs and New Jersey following the storm.
"Thankfully, all of our students were accounted for, along with our staff," Lewis said, but they face "ongoing challenges with communication, transportation and accommodation." Many students displaced by the storm were relocated to temporary housing, mainly through the efforts of CFEM staff.
"We soon realized that many of our students will be without housing for at least a month," Averbukh said. "We had to quickly regroup to find new housing and hold classes."
CFEM student Jessy Pan reported that she and others were subject to a mandatory evacuation from her apartment building the day before the storm. Pan went to a relative's house on Long Island, but returned to the city once classes resumed.
"I'm now in the very cozy new apartment in Brooklyn that CFEM found for us," Pan said.
Another student, William Frick, went to stay with a Columbia graduate student on the Upper West Side.
"I imagined that … I would be able to return to my building the day after the storm," Frick said. He soon learned, however, that his lower Manhattan apartment building will be closed at least until the end of November, he said.
CFEM's location in the financial district caused it to bear the brunt of the storm compared with other Cornell New York City locations, which also saw their operations disrupted.
The Cornell NYC Tech Campus, housed in the Google building in Chelsea, was closed Oct. 29 and reopened Nov. 5.
Cornell's AAP NYC Center, located in the same neighborhood, was also closed Oct. 29-Nov. 5. Three students and at least one faculty member were displaced from their housing, according to Executive Director Bob Balder.
At the Cornell ILR School building in midtown, classes scheduled for Oct. 29 through Nov. 3 were postponed, according to Edwin Acevedo, ILR building manager. Full classes resumed Nov. 5. In total, the program rescheduled eight professional development classes affecting 132 students, and one master of professional studies class with 24 students, Acevedo said.
Weill Cornell Medical College canceled classes and public events Oct. 29 and 30 and resumed full operations Oct. 31.
Cornell University Cooperative Extension-New York City, which has about 100 staff and offices in all boroughs except Staten Island, lost power in all but the Bronx office, according to CUCE-NYC Director Don Tobias. Their Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx offices reopened Nov. 1, and the Manhattan office reopened Nov. 5. Several staff suffered major losses of home and personal property, Tobias said.
Mark Eisner is a retired senior lecturer and communications associate with the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering.