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After the Severe Weather – Support Resources & Service Opportunities

To: All Students

From: Melissa Van Der Wall, Dean of Students

Date: October 3, 2022

Dear Students:

Severe weather related to hurricanes and other storms have pressed upon our international and domestic communities and caused severe damage and destruction. If learning of the storms has caused you to worry and experience challenges, me and my team in the Student Well-Being Core are here for you and will help you through it. Further, you can receive assistance and support through any of the resources provided below.

If you are inspired to get involved and learn about opportunities to serve and provide relief, I invite you to connect with the Civic and Community Engagement Center, and explore the opportunities detailed below.

Assistance and Support Resources
You may be navigating the reality that these storms are catastrophic and the aftermath of their destruction remains to be seen. To this end, I write to share that my office identifies current students, with a permanent address from impacted communities, and offers individualized support out of concern for them and to foster a spirit of togetherness during a challenging time.

The point is not lost on me that learning about the significance of these storms may cause you to experience concern, feelings of overwhelming anxiety, worry, trouble sleeping, and other kinds of symptoms that disrupt your daily routine. Natural disasters  affect people’s lives, so please stay mindful of the warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress. If you or someone you know is in need of emotional support, Counseling Services (located in D-216) offers free, confidential mental health counseling and crisis intervention services.  The contact phone number to schedule is 201-684-7522 for appointments Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.   Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergencies by calling 201-684-7522 and following the phone prompts.

Service and Relief Opportunities
Serving and caring about people are hallmarks of the Roadrunner experience.  I invite you to consider the following ways you can serve:

  • If you learn of a student(s), whose permanent address is from any community impacted by severe weather, please be a friend, ask how they are, and be considerate of their emotional needs;
  • Be thoughtful toward students who have loved ones residing in the impacted communities and offer a word of support;
  • American Red Cross. Donations enable the Red Cross to respond to and help people recover from this disaster. This includes providing food, shelter, relief supplies, emotional support and other assistance. If you have the time, you can make a significant impact as a Red Cross volunteer. Review the most urgently needed volunteer positions here;
  • Global Giving. The organization seeks to raise $1 million for the immediate needs of residents in Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands affected by Fiona. Donations will be used to provide food, shelter, fuel, clean water and hygiene products;
  • PRxPR Relief and Rebuild Fund. This fund has been in place since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017. Organized by Puerto Rican business leaders in the mainland U.S, the organization accepts monetary donations to help provide aid to victims in the wake of Fiona;
  • Direct Relief. This group is a key provider of medical supplies for health care providers in Puerto Rico. To help, donate money at;
  • United Nations World Food Programme. This group is in the Dominican Republic providing assistance in areas that desperately need aid in the aftermath of this storm and are accepting monetary donations to help feed victims.

Whether you take a formal leadership role in helping impacted communities or an informal role in offering a kind word, I appreciate you being mindful in recognizing the physical and emotional toll of the storms and join me in appreciating the tireless work of first responders.  I am motivated by a portion of the Student Well-Being Core’s mission underscoring how we promote well-being in all aspects of our lives and have ongoing concern for communities within and beyond Ramapo.


Melissa Van Der Wall
Dean of Students/Vice President of Student Well-Being