How a Long Island, New York, community supports its colleges

Molloy College, Hofstra University, Adelphi University and Nassau Community College, all with campuses in Hempstead, are receiving $2 million in CARES Act funding each from the town's $133 million total fund.

Officials in Hempstead are showing support for higher ed institutions in the Long Island, New York, community by awarding them a total of $8 million of the $133 million CARES Act funding it secured.

“Local colleges and universities play a vital role in our communities,” said Councilman Thomas Muscarella in an announcement. “This funding … will help these four institutions provide students and educators the tools necessary to facilitate learning as we approach the new academic year.”

Many students and staff at the schools—Molloy College, Hofstra University, Adelphi University and Nassau Community College—live within Hempstead. “A large percentage of Molloy students and employees reside within the town,” says the college’s president, James Lentini. “This important and timely grant will allow all Molloy students and employees to accomplish our educational mission in safe and secure conditions.”

The funds, $2 million for each school, will be used to purchase personal protective equipment for in-person instruction participants, plus other related expenses.

Support welcome—and needed

Adelphi President Christine M. Riordan says she’s thankful to the town and its supervisor “for the confidence they’ve shown in Adelphi.” Besides purchasing PPE, the university plans to use the funds for testing equipment and supplies, health barriers (including in classrooms and welcoming areas of offices and labs) and housekeeping supplies for sanitizing facilities. Residence halls will be retrofitted with hands-free faucets and their existing HVAC units will be upgraded as well.

Adelphi had donated all of its PPE to New York hospitals during the height of the COVID crisis in the state.

“As we work through the economic and logistical challenges of this pandemic alongside every institution in the country,” Riordan adds, “Adelphi University is grateful to be awarded this generous grant … to help ensure our continued mission and the safety of our community.”

More than 38% of Adelphi’s undergraduate and graduate students commute from homes in the county, according to Maggie Yoon Gafer, associate vice president of external relations and chief of staff. Adelphi has 500 full-time employees living in Hempstead.

The grant funds will also support Adelphi’s Hy Weinberg Center for Communication Disorders, which houses the Derner School of Psychology. The center and school provide speech and hearing, plus counseling, services to area residents.

James Perrino, Adelphi’s executive vice president of finance and administration, calls the additional funding awarded by the town “a meaningful contribution.” Reopening a campus with the needed measures to protect the health and safety of students, he adds, “has put enormous pressure on colleges and universities across the U.S.”

Melissa Ezarik is senior managing editor of UB.

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