When the report of the train crash spread to the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology, located just a few blocks from the Hoboken Terminal, members of the school’s fraternities, sororities and other student organizations gathered to organize and collect donations of water, coffee, donuts, granola bars and other snacks to deliver to first responders – EMTs, police officers, firefighters and investigators – who were working around the clock at the scene of the fatal crash. The devastating train crash, which occurred Thursday morning during the height of rush hour, left one person dead and more than 100 people injured.
“Our students were nothing short of amazing yesterday. I actually was a bit emotional and very touched by the outpouring of help and support they showed our community,” said Thea Zunick, associate director of student life at Stevens.
Delta Phi Epsilon, Theta Phi Alpha, Omega Phi Beta, Sigma Nu, Beta Theta, Phi Sigma Sigma, the Muslim Educational and Cultural Association, Orientation Leaders, and the American Chemical Society were among the student groups participating in the collaborative effort.
Stevens senior Stefanie Moran, a member of Delta Phi Epsilon, was the first to contact Zunick to see what she could do to help.
“I woke up yesterday to a bunch of texts about the train crash. The first thing I thought about were my friends in the Stevens co-op program and local alumni who take the train to work, and I was worried about their safety," said Moran. "I wanted to help in any way I could, so I reached out to my sorority sisters, as well as orientation leaders and other Greeks, to donate money to buy coffee and donuts for us to deliver to the first responders.”
Natalie Pertuz, a member of Omega Phi Beta, was also mindful of the people directly involved in the rescue effort.
“First responders see devastation in its rawest form. They deal with high-risk, high-emotion situations all too often and because they are tending to everyone, they sometimes forget about themselves,” said Pertuz. “The least we could do was offer a helping hand, a friendly smile, a healthy snack and let them know that we’re thankful for all that they do,” she said.
Robert DiGenova, deputy chief of police at Stevens, and all the other campus police officers responded immediately to the crash site to assist in rescue efforts and provide necessary support to the area. He and his officers, as well as other first responders, were deeply appreciative of the Stevens students, as well as local eateries, in making what was a harrowing day more bearable.
“There were hundreds of emergency responders, heads of every major law enforcement and public safety agency, politicians, contractors and others who were on scene during the day, and to hear people say, ‘the Stevens kids dropped this off,' again and again made me feel proud,” said DiGenova.