When class was cancelled Monday of first week, students were encouraged to stay in their dorm rooms and apartments. But even without us populating the quads, campus had to continue operating. On that cold, cold day, there were many who made it happen and deserve praise. Without the employees of Facilities Services, UChicago Dining, Residential Services, College Housing, and the University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD), who not only came to work on January 5–6 (and earlier) but also went above and beyond the call of duty, UChicago’s “snow day” would have been very different. Allow us to explain:
It’s about 9 a.m. on Monday when you miraculously make it onto campus, having navigated the inevitable flight delays and cancellations. Stepping out of the taxi, you notice just in time the snowdrift that probably would’ve gone up to your knees, instead diverting your footfall just a little further to the sidewalk which is—thankfully—shoveled. Over the course of this young winter, the pavement has already been cleared of almost 37 inches of snow by Facilities Services. That includes their carpenters, painters, and engineers working in what felt like −40 degrees Fahrenheit to clean up the mess of Sunday’s snowstorms, for as many hands as possible were needed. It is thanks to them that you can get the door to your dorm building open and feel that blast of warm air that thaws your face, which is somehow frozen despite you being outside for not much longer than a minute.
Of course, there’s much more to settling back into your dorm than getting through the door. Housing has been open since the day before, ensuring that students have somewhere to return to after making the stressful journey back. It also means that, at this point, workers have braved both the ridiculous cold and the blinding snow so that you can check in and settle in—into the comforter on top of your bed, which may or may not be made depending on how disastrous finals week was for you last quarter. But eventually the warm comforts of your room give way to an increasingly pressing need: the need for sustenance.
At this point, you have a couple options. Once again, College Housing has your back—Resident Masters and Heads have restocked the kitchens in case you get hungry before Dining is scheduled to deliver hot meals straight to your door. If you’re of the more adventurous ilk, though, both major dining halls are open during their usual hours thanks to the dedication of dining hall workers, who prepared food throughout the weekend and continue to work through the weather warnings. Unlike during the February 2011 blizzard which shut down classes for two days, the shuttles are running and will get you there and back again.
While at the dining hall of your choice, you might see members of the UCPD and security officers taking the opportunity to warm up for a short bit before returning to their chilling patrol. Who knows: If you’re even more adventurous, you might run into them again when you’re stranded on campus, either in a car or on your feet. And thankfully they’ll be there to save you.
The Editorial Board consists of the Editors-in-Chief and the Viewpoints Editors.