Smith College Equipped to Handle Hurricane Sandy
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 22:11
Hurricane Sandy ravaged major areas of the East Coast this past Monday, causing more than 39 fatalities among eight states and going so far as to cause serious power outages and had other detrimental effects. Although Smith students were not hit hard here in the Pioneer Valley, precautions were made in order to ensure that students and faculty stayed safe.
All colleges in the Pioneer Valley, including UMass, Hampshire, Smith College, Mount Holyoke and Amherst College were closed on Monday, Oct. 29, while the Governor of Massachusetts, on Oct. 27 around 12:45 p.m. declared a state of emergency due to the magnitude of Hurricane Sandy. Despite the fact that Smith College did not lose power, there were several instances in which various houses on campus did lose hot water, if only for a few hours.
Dining Services prepared for Hurricane Sandy by coming in early on Monday morning and making sure all Smith students were able to prepare a packed lunch, dinner and breakfast, in case of a lasting power outage.
Kathleen Zieja, Head of Dining Services, stated that because of early forecast, emergency precautions were able to take place more effectively and more preparation was executed in regards to the storm.
“The forecast updates allowed us to make decisions on Sunday as to how we would prepare for the storm. We opted to bring our late shift dining staff in early on Monday so we could serve a hot breakfast and lunch and also prepare the food for the dinner meal and put out breakfast options,” said Zieja.
Dining Services also ensured that it could accommodate any dietary restrictions and provide students with food past Monday, in case of a prolonged power outage.
Although power did not go out on Monday, Dining Services acted with the knowledge that it might. Dining Services staff were able to go home early on Monday, to also prepare and stay safe due to the threatening weather.
“We have a refrigerated truck and we would have picked up perishable food items to prevent waste. Menus would have been altered since we would not have been able to use our cooking equipment and we were prepared to make these changes. Our plan with Residential Life was to ensure that we communicated dining plans, special dietary plans etc to all House Leaders to eliminate some of the confusion that occurred last year,” said Zieja.
Faculty in the nearby area also took precautions against Hurricane Sandy. Lauren Duncan, a Psychology professor who lives in Northampton stated that she and her family “made sure we had full gas tanks and charged the batteries for our flashlights.”
Smith students faced the Hurricane by taking refuge in their respective houses and spending their day off indoors, away from the turbulent weather.
“I’m on the fourth floor of Baldwin and there was this really scary branch that kept hitting my window. It definitely freaked me out, so I moved my bed from the other side of the room, jut in case it went through my window,” said Jessy Holder ’14.
Despite the fact that Hurricane Sandy did not cause any lasting, detrimental damage on campus, at least not of the magnitude that hit the surrounding areas – specifically New York and New Jersey, the College took immediate action in preparation for the violent storm.