University Community Helps Selinsgrove in Flood Clean-up Effort
Published on September 12, 2011
More than 50 Susquehanna University faculty, staff, students and alumni answered Selinsgrove mayor Sean Christine’s call for a community clean-up effort on the flood-ravaged Isle of Que yesterday afternoon. They lent their energy to the relief work by shoveling mud, moving debris and clearing several houses of ruined possessions.
Student groups represented in the clean-up included SU Rugby, residents of Reed Hall, and members of Sigma Alpha Iota sorority, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity and the university’s Hurricane Relief Team.
“The residents were very thankful and I asked them to be in touch as additional needs arise for them or their neighbors,” said Eric Lassahn, director of residence life and the Center for Civic Engagement. “I am confident that our students will continue to answer the call.”
While the waters rose late last week, Susquehanna students and Tom Rambo, assistant vice president for student life and director of public safety, worked alongside emergency personnel and National Guard members who were helping residents of the Isle of Que. They moved belongings, pets and people to safe locations. Some students were even sworn in as emergency fire police to help direct motorists away from flooded areas and to stand guard at street checkpoints.
Additionally, 28 students, faculty and staff assisted the borough with a damage assessment on Saturday to help determine the extent of the flood damage to homes on the Isle of Que. Staff from the university’s Office of Facilities Management were also on site during the weekend with trucks and other equipment. ARAMARK staff donated food and water to help support the volunteers.
More than nine inches of rain fell on the central Susquehanna River Valley last week, remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, which caused historic flooding. On Thursday night, the river crested at 31.66 feet, the second worst flood ever entered in history books that date back to the 1880s. Only Hurricane Agnes in 1972 brought worse conditions with the river cresting at 35.80 feet. The recent flooding beat the previous second-place mark by a foot.
Situated a mile from the river, Susquehanna University was well out of reach from any threat of overflowing banks. But approximately one-third of the borough of Selinsgrove is located on the Isle of Que, an island snuggled between Penns Creek and the mighty Susquehanna River.
As the rain kept falling last week, the National Weather Service’s advanced hydrologic prediction service warned of historic floods. Selinsgrove Mayor Sean Christine called for a mandatory evacuation of the Isle on Thursday, and a curfew was put into effect Friday night into Saturday morning.
Susquehanna students who live on the Isle of Que were offered the opportunity to relocate into campus housing for as long as necessary.