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Memorial University assisting with accommodation efforts

Ref. No. 4

DATE:     Sept. 12, 2001
RELEASE DATE:     Upon Receipt
SUBJECT:     Memorial University assisting with accommodation efforts

Memorial University is accommodating passengers who were forced to make an unscheduled stop in St. John's as a result of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the United States.

In response to the influx of unexpected visitors, the university re-activated the Thomson Student Centre building late Tuesday evening and was able to offer temporary accommodations for approximately 600 passengers.

Faculty, staff and students assisted in the large-scale effort which provided grounded travelers with washrooms, showers, meals (at the university's residence dining hall), child care services, phone, fax and Internet communications and access to televisions and help for those with medical and other special needs. A Help Centre was also quickly set up to assist travellers with their unexpected layover and has been issuing them regular information bulletins and holding briefing sessions.

"We are doing what we can to help," said Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial. "We have received tremendous support from all departments across the university and we have no shortage of volunteers. Members of the university community have been pitching in to help accommodate everyone and make their stay as comfortable as possible." Dr. Meisen noted that the influx of people to the campus has not disrupted classes at the St. John's campus and expects their temporary residents to be staying at until at least tomorrow.

University staff have also set up a Web site aimed at providing the families of those passengers staying at Memorial a sense of where their relatives and loved ones are and what conditions they are experiencing. The site is located at www.mun.ca.

To take the edge off the tedium of waiting for planes to begin flying again, faculty and students of Memorial's School of Music have organized a concert to be given in the Cook Recital Hall this evening. "We hope the concert will give our campus guests something to do and help take their minds off this difficult situation," said Dr. Tom Gordon, director of the School of Music.


For further information, please contact:
Peter Morris, associate director, Division of University Relations, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 709-737-2455, cell 687-9239, pmorris@mun.ca


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