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Rooming with Irene: President and Mrs. Hultin Move into Othmer Residence Hall with NYU-Poly Students

What happens when university move-in day coincides with hurricane evacuations in New York City?

Monopoly, card games, pizza, peanut butter, TV . . . and overnight guests President Jerry Hultin and Mrs. Jill Hultin, rooming next door to students who are new to NYU-Poly.

The unusual scene this weekend at the Othmer Residence Hall reflected university-wide planning and kindness from Mother Nature, who struck Brooklyn with lesser-than-expected winds and storm surges.

“The storm illustrated how NYU-Poly’s size fosters a strong sense of community on campus, and the fact that students left their computers and the privacy of their rooms to support and be supported by their fellow students, really highlighted this quality,” Hultin said. “Strange as it may seem, Irene provided a memorable start to university life for many.”

Director of Residence Life Daniel Aniello explained that detailed preparations underlay much of the lighthearted spirit in Othmer Residence Hall and the Educational Housing Services residence hall at 55 Clark Street. To keep families together and transportation from interfering with move-in, NYU-Poly was in constant communications with students and families including notifying them that NYU-Poly had opened Othmer Residence Hall earlier in the week.

Local students were encouraged to drop off their belongings and return to their homes. But those living in evacuation zones opted to move onto campus because it was not scheduled to be evacuated. And there was the memorable father who encouraged his new undergraduate to experience the storm with the students he would study beside for the next four years. All in all, by Saturday evening, Aug. 27, about 100 students – most new to NYU-Poly – had checked in for the school year.

The NYU-Poly Facilities Management team stationed maintenance and cleaning crews for what promised to be a rough night. Lackmann Culinary Services supplied bottled water and other emergency rations. Resident assistants were equipped with flashlights, assigned emergency stations, prepared with detailed instructions and were eating pizza together when NYU-Poly President Hultin and his wife, Jill, surprised many of them. They had come from their home on the edge of evacuation Zone A to weather the storm with the students.

First-time resident assistant Christine Pembroke, Class of 2014, laughed as she described being caught off guard by the president standing in the residence hall: “He wasn’t wearing a suit – I didn’t recognize him at first,” she said. “But he saw first-hand what residence life is really like – being indoors forced us all to interact more. Students were playing cards, playing Monopoly, listening to music, watching TV and talking. Students were excited.”

A curfew was imposed from 9 p.m. until after New York City Mayor Bloomberg sounded the all-clear on Sunday morning. That’s when students began exploring Brooklyn and shopping for supplies amidst the cool and sunny weather. Move-in will continue in the good weather predicted for the rest of the week, and the traditional welcoming event, convocation, was rescheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 30.