Last weekend, six Coach USA buses departed from UB's North and South campuses, returning UB students to friends and family in New York City following the terrorist attacks on New York City, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
"The buses were organized in less than 24 hours'" Student Association President Christian Oliver said. Tickets were free to "any student who felt the need to go back to [his or her] families."
Although students were not charged, the service came at a cost to sponsors SA and the Office of Student Affairs.
"It cost SA a little over $15,000'" Oliver said. "It was the best money we spent."
"We got as many buses as Coach would give us," said Oliver.
The buses left South Campus Friday, Sept. 14 at 9:45 p.m. after two stops on North Campus to pick up passengers. They arrived in NYC the next morning, stopping in Queens, Brooklyn, Chinatown and Pennsylvania Station by 11 a.m.
The trip was realized with the assistance of Barbara Ricotta, dean of student affairs, and the Educational Opportunity Program, which helped to manage the buses. The Office of Student Affairs covered half the cost of the overall bus trip while EOP, an organization that regularly arranges student trips to New York, took care of the bussing details.
UB attracts students from all over the state, including a substantial number from the New York City and Long Island areas. New York City is about eight hours away by car.
"The first thing we saw was the skyline and it did actually hurt to see the towers still smoking and stuff and the smell of bodies in the air," said John Lee, a freshman management major.
Phone lines have been down sporadically since the tragedy, which made the trip even more important to some students.
"It was happy going home because then I found out that everyone [in my family] that were in the towers were safe," said Lee. He added, "I think everyone on the trip was grateful for the SA actually sponsoring the trip especially with it being free. That made it convenient for those who actually had death in the family. It takes off the financial burden."
Keith Brantley, a first-year physical therapy student, said "I could still see the smoke coming from where the World Trade Center used to be and there wasn't that many people on the roads."
"The Trade Center was in the back of my mind, but I was there to see my family," said Brantley. "It was a beautiful thing because without the trip I wouldn't be able to go home until Thanksgiving."