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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Campus

WTC remnant to be displayed on campus


The journey for a piece of steel to be featured in the New University Center began with tragedy and the end of an iconic landmark on the New York City skyline.

Once the New UC is completed, this piece of steel, a remnant from the World Trade Center debris, will be placed into the structure on the east side. The artifact came to UH as a result of the 2009-2010 student body demanding that the Student Government Association apply for it.

“Back in the 2009-2010 school year when Kenneth Fomunung was president of the student body, a student came to him and his cabinet and said, ‘Hey, we have an opportunity to acquire a piece of the World Trade Center,’” said SGA President Cedric Bandoh.

The application process came through the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which gave out pieces to different groups across the country. It took approximately a year and a half to complete the process.

“So we submitted the application at the time. The application was approved for us, but the Port Authority has to go and select the certain pieces and somewhat furbish them a bit, but while still keeping their original shape and feel,” Bandoh said.

“That process took a long time with so many groups requesting pieces and plus them having to deliver it. That took some time and went to when Prince Wilson was president. And last year, when Mike Harding was president, we finally got word that they have identified our piece of steel and that they were going to send it to us.”

When the piece arrived at UH, the school still had to decide on its final resting place.

“A piece of the World Trade Center will be displayed on the South side of the East Addition of the New UC at the end of Phase One — approximately January 2014,” said Keith Kowalka, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Student Life, in an email.

The placement of the piece in the new UC was an obvious choice for the SGA.

“We felt that the University Center, being that central hub of student life and it being basically the living room of our campus, that that’d be the most appropriate place for this artifact to go,” Bandoh said.

“We feel very fortunate in Student Life and the University Center that SGA identified the UC as the location for the WTC piece to be displayed,” Kowalka said.

The artifact is, in fact, a rare find south of the Mason-Dixon line.

“We’re the only university in this whole southern portion of the country that is going to have a piece of steel,” Bandoh said.

“There will be a plaque. There will be benches. It will be set up really nicely to honor those who fell on that day — to honor all the heroes.”

The journey for the steel has almost come to an end — it now waits in storage at the Energy Research Park.

Additional reporting by Amanda Hilow.

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