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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Impressive snow response from facilities and dining staff

Published: February 14, 2013
Section: Editorials

The unprecedented logistical challenges presented by Blizzard Nemo vexed maintenance crews across the coast, with snow drifts piling up to nearly three feet in some regions. Much sleep was lost as crews mobilized to keep the nation’s infrastructure operational to whatever extent possible. We commend Brandeis Facilities for their excellent stewardship of the campus during this difficult week. Despite snow drifts that sometimes accumulated to heights more than six feet tall, Brandeis University’s roads and walkways were kept reasonably clear. While many regional schools and businesses were offline days after the storm hit, the university was fully operational by Monday morning.

In the midst of the storm, which resulted in the cancelation of all classes last Friday, facilities managed to keep a wide variety of dining options available to students. Dining staff, who risked the possibility of closed roads preventing their return home were resilient in their efforts to keep Usdan and Sherman fully functional. Road crews and shovelers risked the same peril, yet they maintained the same safety and security on campus that we would expect under regular conditions.

On Friday afternoon, Governor Deval Patrick banned driving on all public roads, effective Friday at four o’clock. The hiatus remained in place until Saturday afternoon.
President Fred Lawrence sent an email to the Brandeis Community on Monday applauding Public Safety, Facilities and Dining Services. “[They] have worked tirelessly—many staff went without sleep for more than 24 hours—to ensure the safety of our students and our campus.” He continued to congratulate Community Living and Student Activities for their rapid response to the storm. “[They] adjusted to the weather conditions and made campus a great place to be snowbound.” While the roads in Waltham were filled with snow on Sunday and part of Monday, campus roads were cleared as soon as possible.

Students were able to remain productive despite blizzard conditions because the Library maintained special hours in Farber during the weekend. Even LTS was up and running throughout Friday. Understandably, Campus Shuttle operations to Boston were canceled, although the Waltham Shuttle continued service Friday and Saturday.

Our only concern is whether it’s truly necessary to keep Gosman open, requiring additional staff to risk dangerous travel and lose sleep so students can exercise. We think students can go a day or two without the gym.

We attribute the nearly flawless response to Blizzard Nemo to excellent planning and communication between the many bodies that keep Brandeis running. These meetings resulted in a response without a hitch: plows circled Loop Road and snow shovelers could be seen working through the night. The dedication and resilience of the crews and the competence of their administrators minimized the disturbance of the storm to students and brought us back to full operations by Monday.