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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Snowstorm Turns Campus Operations Upside Down

    Thesnowstorm that blanketed the campus last Sunday and Monday gave students afour-day weekend, but left some university staff scrambling to solveproblems.’ Throughout the week, parts of the campus remained difficult totraverse.

    Withnearly two feet of snow accumulation, cleanup crews created giant mounds ofsnow, obstructing parking lots and walkways.’ Many resident students havehad to find new routes to class, and residents with cars found themselves’plowed in.’

    Butthe challenges met by the average student may be small when compared to theobstacles some disabled students face.

    ‘StonyBrook has tried to be as accessible to disabled students as possible,’said Joanna Harris, the Director of Disability Support Services (DSS).’ ‘We’re all trying to be very patient.’

    Ofthe 550 Stony Brook students with self-identified disabilities, 15-20% havemobility problems, Harris said.’ Because of the storm, students inwheelchairs were forced to spend 3 days indoors and had to have meals delivered.’ Because of the skeleton staff at Campus Dining Services, RHDs delivered foodand in general were very supportive of the disabled students, she added.

    Thesnowstorm made life even harder for blind students who get around with the helpof Seeing Eye dogs, Harris said.’

    Manypaths used by blind students–paths which their dogs are accustomed tofollowing–are covered in snow.

    TheStudent Health Center weathered the storm ‘without anything unusual.” The center had difficulty getting staff in and had shortened hours, but didn’thave any storm-related patients, an employee said.

    ResidentialSafety Patrol (RSP) remained open during the storm, said RSP employee EmanuelGymafi.’ RSP’s walk service was in operation, and desk monitors living inthe buildings they monitor were expected to work, Gymafi said.’ RSP sentout a few staff members with a pick and shovel to help make sure that residencehall doors could properly open and close, he said.

    DespiteRSP’s efforts, some students noticed that their desk monitors didn’t show up. ‘Iwas disappointed to see that there was no monitor at the entrance to mybuilding,’ said freshman Caroline LaManna, a resident of Cardozo College.

    TheStudent Activities Center and Union dining facilities were closedon Monday and Tuesday, and residential dining halls had shortened hours as aresult of the storm.

    CampusDining Services (CDS) decided to close the SAC and Union for two reasons, saidLisa Ospitale, the Director of Marketing for CDS.’

    ‘There wasn’t enough staff, and there wouldn’t have been customers,’ shesaid.’ The SAC serves largely faculty and commuter students, who weren’ton campus, she added. ‘We didn’t want to make the food and then have tothrow it away.’

    Intotal, CDS employs about 220 associates and managers, and 200 students at anygiven time, Ospitale said.’ The SAC and Union staff who came to work weresent to help in residential dining halls.

    Therewere no significant shortages of food during the storm, she said, adding that CDSmaintains stores of food that will last several days in case of an event like amajor snowstorm.

    Tomake sure that operations ran smoothly, some of the campus dining directorsstayed at local hotels on Sunday night so that they could make it in safely onMonday, Ospitale said.

    CDSstayed in contact with RHDs, quad directors, and the university to make surethat students were informed.’ E-mail and phone messages were sent tostudents.

    Onee-mail message sent on Tuesday said, ‘Sometime before 5 p.m., the SAC foodcourt will start providing complementary hot beverages.” The hotbeverages were never served, and students were turned away.’ The e-mailwas reportedly distirbuted mistakenly

    Afterthe message had been sent out, the CDS Operations Director spoke with the SACBuilding Manager, and decided to forego the beverages because the SAC employeeswere needed at residential dining halls.’ ‘The focus was on feedingthe students,’ Ospitale said.

    Assnow removal continued throughout the week, it remained difficult to get aroundcertain areas of campus.’ Like many students, Adam Litroff, who lives inRoth Quad, was disappointed by the university’s snow cleanup efforts.’

    ‘Theuniversity quickly plowed out the faculty and staff parking lots, but it seemslike they were slow to help the students out,’ he said.

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