Students, faculty, and staff faced Thursday, Feb. 9’s Winter Storm Niko head-on, with many classes held despite the adverse weather conditions. Though the final counts are not yet in, the forecast called for 8 to 16 inches of snow, and the minimum expectation was certainly reached. Most schools and businesses closed for the day, including neighboring colleges Quinnipiac University, the University of Connecticut, and Conn College. Even Yale University closed early as accumulation levels rose.
The University’s Adverse Weather Policy acknowledges the rarity of a full University closure and provides information for staff who may still have to drive to work or adjust their schedules to accommodate the weather conditions.
“In general, Wesleyan does not close due to adverse weather conditions unless the governor closes the roads — or unless we announce a closure for some other reason,” the University’s Human Resources site reads. “If this occurs there will be an announcement through the University’s emergency communication system as early as possible.”
As classes were cancelled only at professors’ individual discretions, students populated campus buildings, eateries, and libraries throughout the day. Professors who cancelled class frequently cited an inability to commute to campus or the need to watch children granted a snow day. Many of those who chose to hold class appeared in person, and others lectured remotely or left instructions for students to direct their own academic activities for the day.
Not all students were upset by the storm. For example, students in a lab science course had to work on a time-sensitive project and were met by TAs to complete the experiment.
Hannah Fritze ’18 had an overall positive experience, though she also acknowledged that the weather may impede others from completing their obligations as expected.
“My class was actually really chill,” she said. “[My professor’s emails] were really nice and straightforward. We knew this morning with plenty of time to spare if we were expected in class or not, and the professor even set up a live stream to the classroom…for people who still wanted a classroom environment and/or didn’t have a laptop…I personally think it was a great alternative to having class, especially because I know that snow days are really hard for people with disabilities.”
Other students, however, were more peeved by the logistical inconveniences posed by the storm.
“If LITERALLY EVERY SERVICE IS SHUT DOWN including The Ride, shortened dining hours, and all administrative offices, maybe we shouldn’t have to brave below-freezing temperatures, winds that gust up to 50 mph, and intense snow flurries, to get to class,” Sophie Chabon ’17 wrote in an email to The Argus. “Classes can be rescheduled.”
On Wednesday night, Tom Ogden ’17 received an email announcing the non-cancellation of one of his classes, to which he expressed sarcastic discontent.
“‘Snow doesn’t stop cinema!’ was a quote from an email from a film professor,” said Ogden. “The film department is committed to staying open no matter the weather.”
Jericha Major ’20 remained upbeat, however. Though she did attend courses, she also appreciated the nostalgia brought on by the blizzard.
“Well I was super happy this morning when I saw the snow!” She said. “We would have a considerable number of snow days each year, either because of too much snow or if it was -40 (degrees Celsius) colder….And snow days are the best, because all of a sudden, at like 6 am, the world is your oyster. You can spend the whole day baking cookies and hanging out by the fire, or go out and skate, sled, and build snow forts…so, even though I’m not a huge fan of the cold, I love snow.”
Additional reporting by Camille De Beus, Jake Lahut, and Hannah Reale.