Last week’s polar vortex — or, more endearingly, “Winter Flunk Day” — crippled much of the country with blizzard-like conditions and brought back memories of the 2011 “Snowpocalypse,” the last time campus was “closed.” Heavy snowfall during the 2011 storm led to power outages and a day and a half of canceled classes — time ostensibly spent catching up on coursework or, more likely, drinking.
But most important, this year’s storm brought forth the same dedication we saw in 2011 from Knox’s staff members who braved dangerous conditions to keep the college up and running. In the midst of blanket public safety statements urging everyone to stay home and bundle up, we saw no hesitation from staff members who know that for most Knox students, this residential campus is home.
So on behalf of the student body, we want to thank everyone in facilities services, dining services, campus safety and elsewhere for the hard work and dedication that turned dangerous conditions into as seamless a transition as possible into a new term.
About 200 million people across the country were affected by the cold snap, which carried an estimated $5 billion economic impact, according to an Associated Press report. While municipalities are still reeling elsewhere, the extensive cleanup effort here has left little trace of the storm.
Administrators told TKS that Knox’s staff even received praise from insurance representatives, who saw other campuses across the state in far worse shape after the cold snap.
Functionality has now been restored to Seymour Union and SMC after some dramatic flooding and a freak lightning strike, which threatened services like the mailroom and computer center, respectively. The campus may even emerge from this extreme weather more secure than before, now that measures are being taken in those buildings to ensure that pipes won’t freeze in the future.
So while classes may have been canceled, let’s remember that there’s never a day off for the staff members who make sure campus runs day in and day out.