Critical Concerns Week: ‘Hope and Resilience’ After the Storm

Lectures Explore Post-Sandy Challenges, Choices and Sustainability

studentsresearching1Lakewood, N.J., Oct. 16, 2013— The lingering effects of superstorm Sandy go beyond extraordinary economic losses and the rebuilding of homes, businesses, and boardwalks. The impact on the Barnegat Bay and the region’s residents will be lasting as well, according to environmental and community health experts slated to speak Monday, Oct. 28 through Wednesday, Oct. 30 during Critical Concerns Week 2013 at Georgian Court University.

“When it comes to the Bay, there’s the matter of nutrient impacts and how the ecosystem is dramatically changing,” said Louise Wootton, Ph.D., a GCU professor of biology. “During Critical Concerns Week we will hear more about what has happened to Barnegat Bay and how Sandy impacts everything from boating and swimming to everyday life—now and into the future.”

Critical Concerns Week also includes a Sunday, Oct. 27 presentation featuring Loyola University expert Robert Wicks, Psy.D., who will examine the essential elements for a “bounce back” after a crisis, whether it is a natural disaster or a man-made tragedy. Local residents and organizations also will be honored for the relief work and continuing efforts to rebuild.

On Monday, Oct. 28, GCU will focus on the storm’s impact on the Barnegat Bay, which stretches for more than 30 miles through Ocean County. Later in the week, the public will learn more about GCU’s Mercy Garden, an effort to build community and address local poverty and hunger issues. Also, representatives from New Jersey Help & Healing will discuss community health.

“There has been a certain toll on our collective psychology,” said Dr. Wootton. “One of the things we’ll discuss is compassion fatigue. A good example is all of the things we’ve done to help our neighbors and to respond the needs of the many. The initial outpouring caring has evolved into this relentless cycle. New Jersey Help & Healing will be making the public aware of services that are still available.”

While the aftermath of superstorm Sandy is a focal point for Critical Concerns Week 2013, the four-day schedule of events stems from a slate of critical issues outlined by GCU’s sponsoring organization, the Sisters of Mercy. Each year since 2006, GCU has dedicated programs, public events and scholarly study to the Sisters’ special concerns, including women’s issues, the environment, immigration, racism, and nonviolence.

The lineup for Critical Concerns Week 2013 includes:

Sunday, October 27 

1:00-3:00 p.m., GCU Casino
Hope & Resilience: A Year After Sandy, featuring guest speaker Robert Wicks, Psy.D., Professor of Pastoral Counseling at Loyola University. Organizations and individuals who demonstrated extraordinary courage and generosity in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy will be honored.

Monday, October 28 

7:00 p.m., GCU Little Theatre
“Impact Of Sandy on the Ecology of Barnegat Bay,” presented by Willie decamp, chairman and past director of Save Barnegat Bay. Mr. deCamp, a Mantaloking resident who personally experienced some of the suffering and devastation wrought by Sandy, advocates for the protection of the Barnegat Bay watershed.

Tuesday, October 29

Noon, University Chapel
Mass of Remembrance, led by Father Anthony DiPalma, University Chaplain

Time and Place TBA
Mercy Garden: Building Communities, with Rich Mohr, GCU Sustainability Initiatives Educator/Manager

6:00 p.m., Various shore locations

Light Up New Jersey
GCU student leaders and their peers will journey to Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant and other shore locations as they participate in Townsquare Media’s statewide initiative to commemorate the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy.

 Wednesday, October 30

7:00 p.m., GCU Little Theatre
“Hurricane Sandy: Where Were You Then and Who Are You Now?” with Robin Graham, of New Jersey Hope & Healing, an outreach program sponsored by the state’s Department of Human Services.

For more information about these events or other activities associated with Critical Concerns Week, contact the Louise Wootton, Ph.D., professor of biology and GCU sustainability director, at Media inquiries and requests for high-resolution images may be addressed by the GCU Office of Public Information at 732.987.2266.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and an historic, special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves nearly 2,500 students of all faiths and backgrounds in both undergraduate and graduate programs. The main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also serves students at New Jersey Coastal Communiversity in Wall and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.


# # #