Sandy stories — NJ colleges form oral history of superstorm
When the storm passed 10 years ago, New Jersey residents knew Sandy would be unforgettable.
Some New Jersey colleges just wanted to make sure they'd have stories on record for good.
"Oral histories are really a lasting resource and an incredibly unique window into moments in time," said Melissa Ziobro, specialist professor of public history at Monmouth University.
Just this summer, Ziobro conducted a second round of interviews with Sandy survivors and responders, with funding from the university's Urban Coast Institute.
She had originally conducted 17 oral history interviews ahead of the storm's five-year anniversary. Transcripts of those interviews were made available here online in October 2021.
"The storm came and went, but for many of these people, the process of cleanup and rebuilding went on for years," Ziobro said.
Ziobro's students have created a photo exhibit that launches Friday at the university's library, pairing excerpts from oral history interviews with archival Sandy photos. The exhibit runs through December.
Oct. 29 marks 10 years since Sandy made landfall in Atlantic County. It remains the most destructive natural disaster on record for the Garden State.
"This is something that affected thousands of families in very individual ways," Matthew Bender, a professor of history at The College of New Jersey, told New Jersey 101.5.
Bender is the director of the school's Hurricane Sandy Oral History Project , which recorded interviews with storm victims, first responders, officials, and those responsible for New Jersey's rebuild.
Seventy-five narratives have been transcribed and are available here online.
Bender said he continues to use Sandy today as a teaching example during his environmental history courses.
"The students have a very vivid recollection of it, even though they were young," he said. "It's probably one of the first real significant events that they remember from their childhood."
Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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