As colleges and universities along the east coast prepared for the start of the new school year, many had to quickly change plans due to Hurricane Irene, which was going to strike that same weekend. Most schools heeded government warnings and either closed their campuses or postponed move-in weekend.
Barnes & Noble College bookstores on the east coast also made preparations to ensure students arriving on campus didn’t miss a beat.
On the campus of Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), freshmen were allowed to move their belongings in on Friday, as scheduled, but all students had to leave campus by 5 p.m. Classes were cancelled on Monday so upper classman could move in, which left little time for students to purchase their textbooks before the start of classes on Tuesday.
The CCSU Bookstore assisted worried incoming and returning students by posting updates on the bookstore’s Facebook page and extending store hours to allow students enough time to purchase their books.
“We posted the University contingency plan on our Facebook page,” said CCSU bookstore manager Jack O’Leary. “Despite the storm, we extended our hours on Friday and Saturday so students could pick up their (over 2,000) textbook orders. We also promoted on-line shopping during the storm weekend to ensure our students would have their books for the beginning of classes.”
On Monday, O’Leary’s bookstore team worked a 14-hour shift to ensure all bookstore orders were processed and ready for pick-up.
“We all came in at 7 a.m. on Monday and worked until 9 p.m. to have everything caught up,” said O’Leary. “Classes started today and we are in great shape. Not even a blip on the radar as students will never know the hard work behind it all.”
Hurricane Irene also put a damper on the University of Delaware’s opening weekend. Although the school was closed, the brand-new Barnes & Noble at UD Bookstore, whose official grand opening is scheduled for Thursday, September 1, remained open to serve the students who had remained on campus or who had placed their orders online.
“Our plan was for business as usual on Friday,” said bookstore manager Jennifer Galt. “We had lots of traffic as students and parents were told that they could only leave their belongings in the dorms, but had to head home. We stayed open on Saturday and saw a big rush in the morning, and on Sunday, we were thrilled we had power. By 2 p.m., it was a beautiful day with plenty of students in the store and on Main Street.”
Galt felt it was important to remain open for the students – not only to purchase their textbooks and supplies, but to also have a place to ride out the storm. The bookstore provided a haven for those students who had never experienced a hurricane before.
“I think our staff was happy they had a place to go to keep their minds off of the hurricane,” said Galt. “And we also felt it was important to be here to provide the students with a place to go and hang out. With our new cafe and general reading book section, we had a lot of browsers that day.”
The campus of Tidewater Community College, in Virginia Beach, VA, faced similar challenges as the campus closed down for the entire weekend. “We had our staff come in on Monday to complete all of the online orders that came in over the weekend,” said bookstore manager Donna Canup. “We also extended the refund period and opened early on Tuesday morning to accommodate our students so they could all be ready for class – despite the storm.”
Barnes & Noble College operates more than 630 campus bookstores across the United States from such institutions as Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University, and Georgia Tech.
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