Faculty & Students Share Experiences

By Krista Brooks & Stacy Robinson

Published Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011 – The Daily 49er

http://www.daily49er.com/news/faculty-students-share-experience-1.2622298#.Tqs_I7La6uI

No one — Cal State Long Beach students and faculty included — will forget the events that transpired on Sept. 11, 2011.

Nearly all Americans, regardless of where they were or what they were doing, were affected, directly or indirectly, by the attacks.

Emotions run high for several CSULB students and faculty, but most of the campus agrees it was a day we will never forget.

“It allowed me to see that we sometimes take security for granted and that people are capable of grand destruction,” No one — Cal State Long Beach students and faculty included — will forget the events that transpired on Sept. 11, 2011.

Nearly all Americans, regardless of where they were or what they were doing, were affected, directly or indirectly, by the attacks.

Emotions run high for several CSULB students and faculty, but most of the campus agrees it was a day we will never forget.

“It allowed me to see that we sometimes take security for granted and that people are capable of grand destruction,” computer science major Joshua Liong said. “Before 9/11, grand destruction was something that I’ve only seen in works of fiction and in history books.”

CSULB’s ties to New York

Africana studies professor Bede Ssensalo initially reacted with disbelief. He remembers seeing the north and south towers fall to the ground on the news, and immediately calling his niece, who was living in New Jersey. He said she was in New York at the time of the attacks, dangerously close to the twin towers.

“My niece took a subway to work in New York,” Ssensalo said. “The train stop she exited was right under the World Trade Center. When I called her, she explained that she exited the train, walked only two blocks away, and the planes crashed.”

Ssensalo wondered how buildings as large as the Twin Towers could fall before medium-sized planes, and expressed shock that people would misuse air transportation in such a way.

Gina Wilsher, a fashion merchandising major, also had a connection to New York City during 9/11. She was living in two cities — at her boyfriend’s house in Soho and her family’s house in Orange County — when the attack happened.

“Fortunately, I was at home with my family in Orange County, and my boyfriend was in upstate New York, so we both weren’t in Soho during the 9/11 attack,” Wilsher said.

Since Wilsher was in California at the time of the attack, she woke up to many voicemails from concerned friends and family.

The political aftermath

CSULB political science professor Edgar Kaskla was also astonished by the event. He wondered if officers could get to the roof or if helicopters could pick up survivors.

After the stint of sorrow and disbelief, Kaskla pondered on America’s next move, and was disappointed that his prediction came true. He was appalled at many students’ reactions and hoped that students would invoke their own interpretations of the event.

“There is a dominant narrative in this country,” Kaskla said. “We must never forget.”

Kaskla wishes for the day to be remembered for its victims, and not the over-stimulated patriotism that is associated with it.

Katarina Eleby, an international studies major, said her view of safety has been shattered.

“Safety is an illusion,” Eleby said. “Things or people may make us feel safe, but realistically, we are never out of harm’s way.”

The concern for others

Aimee Arreygue, Jensen Student Access to Science co-director, remembers hearing the news on the radio early that September morning. After turning on the TV and witnessing the carnage, she promptly made calls to her immediate family and frequent-traveler brother, who was safe from harm.

Arreygue stayed home with her husband all day, anxious for what might happen next. She was shocked that the event was televised live, and how quickly the news of the Pentagon attack was hushed.

Aside from her complete remorse for the victims, Arreygue thought of her students from her K-12 school she had just left the spring before.

She questioned her choice of leaving the elementary school for a university and couldn’t help but think about how she could have helped the children cope with such an event.

The impact

“The first thing I did was get close to my parents because I was scared and they were too,” fashion merchandising major Ryan Schulenburg said.

“We sat close and hugged because we all needed each other,” he continued. “It was a very vulnerable point for a lot of Americans.”

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