UMES hurricane advisory update
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011 - 9 a.m.) - UMES students who spent Saturday night in an on-campus shelter returned to their dormitories and apartments shortly after sunrise Sunday when university officials determined the worst of Hurricane Irene had passed the region.
“They were ready to go,” said Ronnie Holden, vice president for administrative affairs, who with dozens of colleagues spent Saturday night on campus.
About 300 students who already had moved onto campus and apartments adjacent to campus last week were ordered to evacuate their housing Saturday morning as a precaution in anticipation of the storm’s arrival.
“Everything went according to plan,” Holden said. “A lot of them thought it was an adventure.”
Classes for undergraduates begin Wednesday, and sophomores, juniors and seniors had been told they could move into on-campus housing Sunday. The campus is open, but university officials are asking students arriving for the start of classes this week to wait until Monday before checking into dormitories.
Nicholas Blanchard, dean of UMES' School of Pharmacy and Health Professions, said Sunday that all graduate students in pharmacy should report to classes Monday as scheduled.
A make-up orientation session for freshmen will be held Monday morning as well. Anthony Jenkins, the vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, estimated about 120 freshmen opted not to travel to campus Friday, when orientation had been scheduled.
Aside from a 75-minute midday power outage Saturday that also affected some areas of Princess Anne, the UMES campus weathered the slow-moving storm overnight without major incident.
Winds from the backside of the storm continued to whip rain Sunday morning in bursts just as it did Saturday afternoon, stripping trees of leaves and knocking down dead branches. Three large trees adjacent to the Somerset-Harford hall complex on the historic Academic Oval each lost a major branch.
Overnight, however, there appeared to be no problems with electricity.
In fact, Holden noted that students had plenty of (electric-powered) entertainment options: movies, videos and games to keep them occupied.
And aside from standing water in low-lying areas of campus, a branch of the Manokin River that runs alongside campus had not caused any flooding problems by early Sunday morning. At one point late Saturday afternoon, the ponds in front of the Student Services Center, which was serving as the evacuation shelter, had whitecaps.
Meanwhile, UMES personnel who make up the emergency response team were continuing to monitor buildings to assess whether any were experiencing leaks from water damage.
Holden, a long-time UMES administrator who oversaw storm response, said the university’s emergency plan was executed flawlessly, and he credited “all the volunteers who made it work. Thank you.”
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PRINCESS ANNE, MD. - (Saturday, Aug. 27, 2011 - 3 p.m.) - An estimated 300 University of Maryland Eastern Shore students were safely relocated Saturday to an on-campus shelter in the Student Services Center well ahead of Hurricane Irene's arrival.
Students who had moved into dorms early as well as those living in adjoining apartment complexes complied with a mandatory evacuation notice issued by the UMES Office of Residence Life.
In addition to the usual staffing on the weekends when classes are in session, an estimated 50 additional UMES personnel were on campus monitoring conditions and in position to help should an emergency arise.
Around midday, the campus and surrounding community briefly lost power for about 75 minutes, but it was restored around 1:30 p.m..
The on-campus shelter where students are temporarily being housed is fitted with a generator should the storm sever electricity.
UMES officials say students in the shelter will be provided two meals each day - a midday brunch and dinner. They've also arranged a variety of entertainment for the student-guests, including games and movies.
Students were told Friday to bring pillows and blankets to prepare for an overnight stay in the shelter Saturday. UMES officials said they were impressed by students' cooperation.
A senior management team at UMES has been meeting twice daily since the hurricane tracking system indicated the storm would impact Delmarva. A decision about when students might be allowed to return to their dorms and apartments will not be made until at least Sunday morning -- after an assessment of the storm's location and its collateral impact is determined.
Some graduate students have been taking classes this month, but the academic year for undergraduates is not scheduled to begin until Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Freshmen unable to attend a mandatory orientation program Friday should plan to participate in a make-up session Monday, according to the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. The same schedule for Friday's event applies Monday.
PRINCESS ANNE, MD. - (Friday, Aug. 26, 2011 - 5 p.m.) - The Office of Residence Life at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore issued a mandatory evacuation notice Friday afternoon to students living on campus and in the Arden's Run and Talon Square apartment complexes adjacent to campus.
Evacuation will begin Saturday morning at 9 o'clock. The Office of Resident Life estimates the move can be completed in two hours.
The university will provide student-evacuees transportation to the Student Services Center (SSC), which will serve as the primary shelter. The Hytche Athletic Center adjacent to the SSC will handle any overflow.
UMES students are being advised to wear loose, comfortable clothing and to bring: blankets, pillows, medications, limited snacks, flashlights, portable radios with headphones and small first-aid kits.
UMES housing officials are telling students they do not know how long they will have to stay in on-campus shelters.
"This order will be lifted as soon as it possible to provide a safe return to your housing location," said Marvin Jones, director of resident life.
In a notice distributed via e-mail to students, Jones appealed for their "complete cooperation ... and respect for authorities."
Jones estimates that approximately 400 students are on campus or in the adjoining apartment complexes.
Because the order is mandatory, Jones said, students who refuse to cooperate face university disciplinary action or referral to local law enforcement authorities.
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Friday, Aug. 26, 2011 - 3 p.m.) - Anthony Jenkins, the vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at UMES, today issued the following instructions to freshmen unable to attend Friday's regularly scheduled orientation session on campus.
"We understand several students were unable to attend Enrollment 101 in light of Hurricane Irene, It is important to note that Enrollment 101 should be completed prior to the start of classes on Wednesday, Aug. 31."
"A “make-up” Enrollment 101 session has been scheduled for Monday, Aug. 29, beginning at 10 a.m."
"When you arrive on campus Monday, Aug. 29, please proceed to your assigned residence hall to deliver your personal belongings. From there, you should report to the theater in the Student Services Center for Enrollment 101 check-in."
"If you have questions or require additional information, please contact the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management at 410-651-8440 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org."
"Please monitor the University website and your UMES e-mail throughout the weekend for important updates. The next update regarding Enrollment 101, will be posted Sunday, Aug. 28."
"Travel safely, and we look forward to seeing you on Monday."
PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011 - 2 p.m.) University of Maryland Eastern Shore students planning to move into on-campus housing this weekend are encouraged to wait until Hurricane Irene passes the region.
Students may arrive on Monday, Aug. 29. UMES officials are prepared to accommodate freshmen arriving Friday, Aug. 26, who are unable to change their travel plans, but those students also will be advised to return home after dropping off their belongings.
Should it become necessary, the university will provide shelter for students on campus as the storm approaches.
All activities planned over the weekend are cancelled and will be rescheduled by the Office of Students Affairs and Enrollment Management.
Classes are still scheduled to begin Wednesday, Aug. 31.
University personnel not designated as "essential employees" should leave campus Friday by 6 p.m. and return Monday at regularly scheduled times – weather and post-storm conditions permitting.
Students and parents are advised to monitor the UMES homepage for weather updates and changes in storm-sheltering plans on campus.
UMES students and employees should also monitor local news organizations, the campus web site, and our campus radio station WESM 91.3 FM for updates on changes in the UMES emergency response.