Earthquake Strikes Campus

Mia Kincade ’25 in News | April 12, 2024

Last Friday, April 5, a 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit New Jersey and reached the Lawrenceville campus. This was a first-time experience for most local students, as an earthquake of this magnitude has not hit New Jersey in about 240 years. In the week following the event, the earthquake has been a frequently discussed topic among students.
Megan Widlar ’26, who was “learning about electron configurations in ICPS” at the time of the earthquake, recounted her experience, noting, “I was kind of confused as to what was happening, and so was everyone else.” While she found this experience bizarre and puzzling, Widlar concluded, “It was very rare, and I’m excited that I got to experience it.”

Kosiso Okonkwo ’25, was in French class “reviewing homework from the night before, when there was a rumble, and the projector began to move.” Okonkwo first thought that it was “something in the basement of [Father’s Building],” but quickly turned to her classmates and noticed the looks of “disbelief, shock, and confusion” on their faces. “This was definitely a very memorable moment for me,” she said. 

Jalen Gravesande ’25 expressed a similar sentiment of confusion, elaborating,“I thought it was construction at first, but when I saw everything shaking, I began to wonder what was going on,” before realizing that he had experienced an earthquake after his mother called him. 

Following the earthquake, Campbell Abbott’s ’25 teacher ordered students in the Kirby Math and Science Center to exit the building. “We had to evacuate the building and then my teacher went to other classrooms, telling others to do the same,” she recalled. While the event was surprising to Abbott, she remarked, “I wasn’t too worried because it only lasted a couple seconds.”

Contrary to the situations most Lawrentians found themselves in when the earthquake struck, Toni Ebunlomo ’25 was alone during the occurrence. “I was laying in the Infirm with the stomach bug, feeling weak and sickly, when the ground started to shake beneath me,” he said. Because there was nobody around to tell him what happened, he “started Googling and going on Twitter.” He soon figured out that the sudden movement of the building was, in fact, an earthquake. 

Although this earthquake only lasted for a short period of time, it had a large impact on the community. Because there was little to no damage, many Lawrentians characterized this experience as fun and memorable, adding a surprising twist to their days.