Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 19, December 14, 2012

Lending a Helping Hand

Last month, Hurricane Sandy—dubbed by many researchers as one of the most powerful hurricanes in American history—came ashore along almost 1,000 miles of the United States eastern seaboard, carving a path of destruction that also destroyed whole communities in coastal New York and New Jersey. To assist impacted communities and residents, on Saturday, Dec. 8, Rensselaer hosted a live telethon event to raise funds to help Hurricane Sandy victims.

The two-hour event, which was also webcast, was held in the Rensselaer Union McNeil Room. All proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross. Individuals will be able to make a donation to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief using the RPI Relief and the RPI TV websites until Dec. 31.

Hurricane Sandy killed more than 100 people, left tens of thousands homeless, crippled mass transit, triggered paralyzing gasoline shortages, inflicted billions of dollars in infrastructure damage, and cut power to more than 8 million homes—some of which remained dark for weeks. Within days of the storm, the Rensselaer community launched a series of fundraising and support initiatives.

“The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy has had a profound impact on our students and campus community,” said Cynthia Smith ’96, assistant dean of students and director of pipeline initiatives and partnerships. “Individuals who have embraced the ‘RPI RELIEF – Hurricane Sandy’ initiative are focused on raising money and supporting the many Rensselaer students whose families are impacted by the storm.”

“Rensselaer students and members of the campus community have always embraced the spirit of volunteerism,” Smith added. “They lend their time, energy, and expertise to assist others within the local community and beyond who need help in a multitude of ways. The planning involved in coordinating our first live telethon is nothing short of amazing, and a testament to our students’ heartfelt efforts to help rebuild communities and people’s lives.”

The program featured a host of student, staff, and faculty performances. Event highlights included dancers, beat-boxers, slam poets, jump rope artists, pianists, acoustic guitarists, a jazz quintet, a barbershop trio, violinists, and more.

The telethon was sponsored by RPI Relief: Hurricane Sandy, the RPI Red Cross Club, the Class of 2015, Alpha Omega Epsilon, and RPI TV. In addition, the growing list of student and campus groups who support the effort includes: the Mighty Waters Committee, Alpha Chi Rho, Rensselaer Society of Engineers, Alpha Gamma Delta, Tutor Time, the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, Pi Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Omega, and Hospitality Services.
The RPI RELIEF program is focused on raising awareness and funds, as well as coordinating volunteer initiatives when disaster strikes an area. Since its inception, the program has responded to a series of major environmental disasters that have impacted the nation, the world, and even the Capital Region community.

For more information about RPI Relief efforts to support Hurricane Sandy victims, visit

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 19, December 14, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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