Campus celebrates first snow day since 1998

Students rejoiced on Mayflower Hill after receiving an email from Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jim Terhune announcing that classes and athletic practices would be cancelled Tuesday, January 27 due to a severe winter snowstorm.

The storm, deemed “Juno” by meteorologists, ended the College’s 17-year streak of no class cancellations due to weather.

In light of safety concerns, all “non-essential” College facilities were closed and students were urged to stay inside and use caution when driving. The vital areas of dining services, the physical plant and security remained open thanks to the dedicated staff who were able to make a safe commute to campus.

Vice President for Administration Douglas Terp said in an email that the decision to “release as many employees as possible from having to work on Tuesday” came after authorities reported whiteout conditions and discouraged driving. The College remains open during adverse weather “as a general rule,” Terp said, but examines the need for closures on a case-by-case basis.

While some students stayed huddled in their dorm rooms with hot chocolate and Netflix for the day, others displayed courage and compassion by helping relief efforts on the Hill. Members of Colby Emergency Response shoveled paths, “working long hours and doing whatever is needed,” as stated by the College’s Facebook page.

Their willingness to brave the cold mirrored the events of the last snow day in 1998 (dubbed the “Great Ice Storm”) when the College acted as a haven for faculty and townsfolk alike. According to the 1998 Colby Magazine, Mayflower Hill was one of the few places that witnessed no power outages in a storm that left two-thirds of Maine in the dark for “periods ranging from hours to weeks.” As a result, the campus served as an emergency shelter for hundreds of people well into the following week.snow day web

This year’s snow day demonstrated weather conditions that were consistent with the three prior College closures—in 1952, 1960 and 1998. The monumental “Blizzard of 1952” was the first major storm that students experienced on the new Mayflower Hill campus and was responsible for two days of cancelled classes that February.

The legacy of students supplementing College workers in times of crises was likely born in that storm, when the Echo documented students “[donning] chef’s apparel” who ensured “the [Roberts] cafeteria’s smooth running under adverse conditions.” Food shortages were mitigated when “bread was brought in by toboggans,” with an essential ice cream order also in tow.

Though Juno was not nearly as extreme, it still had a large impact on campus. The 24 inches of snow, alongside the almost unheard of cancellation of classes, made for a lot of excitement.

 

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