No one was injured on campus during the Oct. 29 snowstorm that dumped wet snow on the region and caused widespread power outages.
Snow sculptures festooned with leafy branches dotted the Smith campus Tuesday morning, when classes resumed following a snowstorm that felled tree limbs and power lines throughout the region.
Facilities Management received the first call about a downed tree limb at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, just a few hours after big, wet snowflakes began falling and a few hours before the entire City of Northampton lost power.
By Monday morning, power had been restored on campus and grounds crews were cleaning up debris from 55 trees that had been damaged during the storm.
No one—students, faculty or staff—had been injured. As of Tuesday, widespread power outages remain throughout Northampton and the Pioneer Valley.
After meeting in the dimly lit conference room at Facilities Management on West Street throughout the weekend, members of the college’s Emergency Response Team sat down in a warm room on Halloween Monday.
The lights had come on at about 8:30 a.m. that morning and Internet service would follow later in the day.
“We are up to 3.2 megawatts of power on campus, which is typical,” said John Shenette, associate vice president of facilities management, whose staff monitored the heat levels in the student houses throughout the weekend.
Between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, Shenette and the Emergency Response Team—representing Dining Services, Information Technology Services, Campus Police, Student Life and College Relations—coordinated efforts to ensure students were safe, comfortable and fed.
“We’re doing lots of tuna,” reported Kathy Zieja, director of dining services, of the menu staple.
The Emergency Response Team communicated with students through the emergency notification system, which sent text messages, voicemail and email to cell phones, and through Residential Life staff members who walked through houses.
The messages notified students about the dining rooms that were open and invited them to relocate to the Campus Center, which remained open with heat, power and cots around the clock until Monday morning.
However, most students stayed in their houses throughout the storm because many of the houses remained heated and partially powered by generators.
After a few days without the ability to access email or the Internet, the news that Smith was “back online” came across social media loud and clear Monday at about 2 p.m.
“We all survived #snowtober2011 and now it’s back to normal,” one student reported.