Lehigh University
Lehigh University

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Volunteering in a crisis

It was the rare, once-in-a-lifetime weather event that lived up to all the hype. Superstorm Sandy, dubbed a “perfect storm” by some meteorologists, roared into the Lehigh Valley late last October. The storm caused flooding, left downed power lines and uprooted trees. More than 7.5 million people in the northeastern United States were left without power.

As bad as Sandy was, however, that storm was actually the second to hit Lehigh that week, and a year earlier, another freak snowstorm left the campus without power as well.
 
Lehigh University staff responded admirably to all of these events by volunteering in large numbers to ensure our students and community remained safe. However, recruiting and organizing volunteers can be an extra burden during a crisis. When possible, it’s best to deal with a crisis by planning ahead.

Therefore, Lehigh has created the Volunteering in a Crisis database, an internal resource where eligible faculty and staff may sign up in advance to volunteer in the event of a crisis. The page is located on Banner, under the Employee Tab, and allows employees to specify the types of volunteer service they can provide (including hosting displaced persons, distributing food or supplies on campus and assisting with shelter operations) and input their emergency contact information. With an up-to-date volunteer database, Lehigh University will have quick access to a list of potential volunteers in a crisis.

Please visit the Volunteering in a Crisis page to find out if you are eligible to participate, download the FAQ document and link to the Banner page to enroll.
 
Is it a requirement of my employment to enroll in the volunteer database?

It is important that employees understand that there is no requirement to enroll. But if you do, please know that enrolling does not mean that you must volunteer when a crisis arises. Should Lehigh experience a crisis, such as an extended power outage or the cancellation of classes, you will be contacted by a member of Lehigh’s operations team and can make your decision to volunteer at that time.

How do I know if I am eligible?

Put simply, eligible employees are full time administration, faculty or staff. But not every full-time employee is eligible to participate. In most instances, the Lehigh Human Resources database will check and report your eligibility on screen as you attempt to enroll. For questions about eligibility, download the FAQ document on the Banner sign-up page or call Risk Management at 8-3899.
 
Where do I learn more?
 
Visit the Volunteering in a Crisis webpage, where you can read about the program, download the FAQ document and link to the Banner page to enroll or modify your settings in the database. For specific questions not answered on this page or in the FAQ, please call Risk Management at 8-3899.

As a member of our campus community, we want you to know that your safety is of paramount importance to us. And, as a community, we recognize the value of being prepared in the event of emergency circumstances. There are a number of steps that you can take to familiarize yourself with the resources, policies and procedures we have in place to foster a safe and healthy campus environment. We encourage you to visit the Lehigh Emergency Information page and make yourself familiar with Lehigh’s emergency resources and links.

Thank you for your continued dedication to Lehigh University, its students and our campus. 

Story by Jordan Reese

Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

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