Extreme weather brings problems to students, to campus, to community


With this winter's record-breaking temperatures and snowfall, DePauw University has been one of several college campuses dealing with this extreme and atypical winter weather.
While school systems across the state have had snow days more often than not throughout the month of January, DePauw has not cancelled classes since Winter Term.
According to Angela Nally, director of Public Safety, snow days are determined by the potential danger the community faces in going about daily activities.
"With students in residence, the University cannot completely close," Nally said. "Over half of our students eat in our campus dining facilities, which necessitates students leaving their living units whether or not classes are scheduled."
In addition, staff members must stay on campus most of the time to clear parking lots and sidewalks and to operate the dining halls.
However, in the case of weather emergencies or extremely cold weather, Public Safety sends out campus-wide emails and makes itself available for specific weather-related inquiries.
DePauw budgets $50,000 for weather related expenses annually, according to Richard Vance, associate vice president for Facilities Management, but with recent weather, the university has been forced to use approximately twice this amount.
"As in the past, we will be very responsive and provide the appropriate resources to ensure student, faculty and staff safety," Vance said.
But despite efforts to maintain safe standards, students have been dealing with various inconveniences while getting around campus.
During Winter Term, the sidewalks were not completely shoveled, and off-campus Winter Term students had to move their luggage through the snow.
"I had to drag the suitcase from the Inn [at DePauw] to the Hub, and it was terrible," sophomore Mary Alyce Von Stein said. "[My suitcase] shoved two inches off the snow and left two inches behind."
On College Avenue, the university shovels in front of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority house but not in front of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, according to first-year Kenneth Yager.
"Last time it snowed, brothers had to go out and shovel," Yager said. "It's pretty unfair if the school does it for other fraternities but not for us."
The snow and ice have also caused more serious incidents. Senior Rachel Potenza broke her shoulder playing in the snow and had to have surgery.
"When it first hit I was in terrible pain and had pretty limited mobility," Potenza said.
This was not an effect of any lack of effort on the part of the school, Potenza said.
"It was in the middle of the night and snowing," Potenza said. "The next morning, they had the place shoveled. I don't know if anything could have been done to prevent it."
At this point, her biggest concern is how the school will respond to her absences.
"I really hope that the school will be accommodating, as all of this was completely out of my control," she said.
Students can contact Public Safety for suggestions on staying safe in extremely cold weather.