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originally published: 10/20/2022

Monmouth University Looks at Hurricane Sandy a Decade Later

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) — Join the Urban Coast Institute (UCI) at Monmouth University on October 27 at 1:30pm for a special conversation on lessons New Jersey has apparently learned and not learned since Hurricane Sandy struck a decade go. Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute (UCI) Director Tony MacDonald will moderate an expert panel featuring New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, Climate Central Senior Advisor Don Bain, Federal Emergency Management Administration Region II Mitigation Division Director Michael Moriarty.

Whether looking back to Superstorm Sandy, to the present to Hurricane Ian, or to an uncertain future, it is clear that coastal communities are at risk. The speakers will address how the state and communities should proceed given the new normal climate change, sea level rise, continued development and increased vulnerability in coastal areas, and the threat of more frequent and violent coastal storms.

The free and public event will be held in-person at Monmouth University’s Great Hall Auditorium and livestreamed via Zoom. Upon registration, participants will be provided a Zoom link, parking instructions and directions to campus. In-person attendees may also register at the sign-in table before the event. Click here to register.

The screening is one of four free events being offered by Monmouth University to examine the disaster from a range of historic, economic and environmental perspectives. The others are:

* The “Documenting and Interpreting Superstorm Sandy” virtual panel on October 28 at noon. A virtual panel that will explore some of the ways Superstorm Sandy is being documented for the historical record and interpreted for the public.

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* A screening for the documentary film “The Jersey Storm: Sandy in Monmouth County” on October 28 at 1:30pm at Monmouth University’s Pollak Theatre. Premier of the documentary film that features never-before-seen footage taken in the aftermath of Sandy and interviews with the Monmouth County officials, first responders, residents and who lived through it. The film chronicles Sandy and the fortitude of the local heroes who sprang into action in its wake.

* The student poster exhibition, “Tracking Sandy: Monmouth County Remembers,” to be held at the Guggenheim Memorial Library on October 28 at 3:00pm. Specialist Professor in Public History Melissa Ziobro’s Museums and Archives Management Basics students unveil a poster exhibit that peers excerpts from oral history interviews with archival photos in order to document and interpret Superstorm Sandy’s impact on Monmouth County.

Questions on any of the events may be directed to

Speaker Bios

Shawn M. LaTourette was appointed by Gov. Philip Murphy the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2021. LaTourette is responsible for formulating statewide environmental policy while directing programs that protect public health and ensure the quality of New Jersey’s air, land, water, and natural and historic resources. A lawyer and policymaker with more than 20 years of experience in environmental protection, LaTourette began his career defending victims of toxic exposure, including organizing and advocating for the needs of vulnerable New Jersey communities whose drinking water was contaminated by petrochemicals. He first joined the DEP as the chief legal and regulatory policy adviser to then-commissioner Catherine McCabe in 2018 and was elevated to DEP chief of staff in 2019 and to deputy commissioner in 2020. Since 2019, he has been responsible for running DEP’s operations while formulating policy and regulatory reforms to advance Gov. Murphy’s environmental, climate change and clean energy priorities. His diverse background — in protecting vulnerable communities, facilitating the development of infrastructure and public works, managing business risk, promoting conservationist policies and advocating for equity — has made him a leading force in policy, program and project development, especially those at the complex juncture of economic development, energy and environmental protection.

Don Bain, PE, is a climate engineer and expert on climate change, adaptation and sea level rise. Dedicated to building a bright future in a dramatically changing climate, he is a highly accomplished business executive and management consultant. He has managed hundreds of projects and has experience working in 21 countries. As a consulting partner at Ernst & Young, he advised Fortune 500 clients. He has international executive experience, has led several technology and professional services companies in the US and Europe, and was a board member at Robin Hood Ventures. Don is an expert on the implications of sea level rise and has advised municipalities on adaptation, risk management, economics and finance. He is an expert in rigorous greenhouse gas accounting and management methods. Don is a licensed professional engineer.

Michael Moriarty serves as mitigation director leading a team creating more resilient communities by reducing future losses to homes, businesses, public buildings and critical facilities from floods, earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters. His Mitigation Team focuses on breaking the cycle of recurrent disaster damage with responsibilities for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. The team helps reduce loss of life and property while building capability with state, local and tribal partners through a variety of programs, including the identification, analysis and mapping of risks, support to state and local floodplain management, coordination of the National Flood Insurance Program , environmental planning and historic preservation compliance and management of a robust pre-disaster mitigation grants program and a hazard mitigation grants program of more than $3.5B for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for Hurricane Maria and more than $2 billion to New York and New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy.

The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) was established in 2005 as one of Monmouth University’s “Centers of Distinction,” which work to promote awareness of specific issues and meet the needs of local and global communities. The UCI builds on Monmouth’s program in Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy and interdepartmental strengths in environmental science, business, economics and real estate, public policy, the arts and social sciences. It maintains a principal focus on the interactions between humans and the coastal and ocean environment, and sustainable coastal development along New Jersey’s coasts and watersheds. The UCI manages a number of signature programs and events, including:

* Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars Program grants supporting student-faculty research and academic enrichment opportunities

* Future of the Ocean Symposium and Champions of the Ocean Award events featuring luminaries on ocean and coastal issues

* Global Ocean Governance Lecture Series talks by distinguished scholars and professionals

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