Twin sisters Ava and Alexa Filippone ’25 were (almost) all packed up and ready to move in at Siena as freshmen. Hurricane Ida had other ideas.

Remnants of what was initially a Category 4 storm made their way to the Northeast last week in the form of torrential rains and heavy winds, knocking out power throughout the tristate area.

It was the day before Ava and Alexa were supposed to leave for college. 

The Filippone home in Scarsdale, NY was not spared. The basement and garage got the worst of it: the family’s four cars were totaled, and belongings – including family heirlooms and photos – were floating around in dirty floodwater. Luckily most of their college stuff was spared.

Their father, Glenn, texted the Admissions office at Siena on September 2 and said his daughters would be late moving in because of the emergency. He wasn’t sure exactly when they’d be able to make it up, but the girls would be missing the traditional enthusiastic welcome for new students as well as a part of freshman orientation. 

It couldn’t be helped. Or could it?

Katie Szalda ’01, director of admissions, and her team weren’t about to leave two new Saints out of the fun. She told the Filippones that Siena would send someone to Scarsdale to pick up Ava and Alexa and their gear and get them up to campus as soon as possible.

“The extra day worked out well,” Ava joked. “I was behind on my packing anyway.”

Andy Murphy ’17 and Emily Furlong ’21 from Siena’s marketing team were dispatched early in the morning of September 3 in a college van to pick up Ava and Alexa. They helped the family load up the twins’ belongings, and then hit the road with the Filippone parents, Glenn and Laura, following behind in a borrowed vehicle. 

When the two-vehicle caravan pulled up to Plassmann Hall last Friday, the famous Siena welcome was in place. Bernie, the Saints mascot, joined a group of students to cheer their arrival on campus and help them bring their belongings up to the third floor. Although the sisters share a bedroom at home, they are each rooming with someone else on campus for a new experience.

Once their stuff was brought in, the parents encouraged their daughters to join in right away with orientation activities and meet new friends, while they handled the bulk of the unpacking.

“The transition was easier than we expected. This is a very welcome and friendly community.”

Alexa Filippone '25

“We are so grateful for everything Siena did for our family. As soon as they learned what happened people jumped in to help.” 

Ava Filippone '25

The sisters said there will be a lot of repair work at the house – the carpets and drywall in the basement have to be replaced, along with the family vehicles. Older sister Alyssa is stopping by to help; she’s been living with their grandmother to keep her company since their grandfather passed away from COVID earlier this year.


Ava and Alexa said they are concerned with how their family is coping with the cleanup back home, but are grateful for the peace of mind being on campus provides.