Sept. 4, 2011 | WMU News
A simple email message set in motion what was likely Western Michigan University's largest and most significant direct involvement in the aftermath of 9/11.
WMU was one of several colleges and universities nationally that responded to an appeal for assistance to Borough of Manhattan Community College, which suffered major damage in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
Asken took the BMCC request to then WMU President Elson Floyd, and within two weeks a tractor trailer loaded with used classroom furniture, including about 200 desks and chairs and several dozen computer workstations, was en route to New York City.
"Dr. Floyd immediately said yes, and working with Logistical Services we were able to move pretty quickly," recalls Asken. "The big question at the time was whether—with the travel challenges created by the attacks—the trailer would make it to its destination, but thankfully the furniture was delivered and used."
According to BMCC officials, with the closure of Filterman Hall the college lost 45 classrooms and 20 computer labs. WMU's donated furniture was put to use in retrofitted existing college buildings as well as double modular portable classrooms that were brought in to handle the displaced student population.
Remarkably, BMCC reopened for classes on Oct. 1, 2001, well before most other neighborhood institutions were able to resume operations.