This past week Bowdoin was hit by a series of snowstorms, the worst of which occurred late Sunday night and continued through Monday morning. They were accompanied by high winds. As a result, classes were cancelled Monday, the first weather-related cancellation in almost 10 years and the second in close to 40 years, according to a 2007 Orient article.

While many students were excited by the cancellation and headed outside to enjoy the snow, Bowdoin’s essential employees from Facilities and Dining Service set to work clearing the roads and sidewalks and preparing meals for all on-campus students and staff.

“This [storm] was of particular concern because of the rapidity of the snowfall and the fact that there [were] blizzard conditions in conjunction with it,” said Director of Facilities Operations and Maintenance Ted Stam.

Stam said that one of the biggest challenges his department faced this week was having to remove the massive amounts of snow in such a short window of time. In order to keep up with the snowfall, all 20 of the College’s grounds department employees found themselves plowing, shoveling, applying salt and sand and operating the College’s assortment of trucks, plows and snowblowers. 

In addition to the work done by these employees on the central campus, outsourced contractors brought larger machines to clear farther-away areas such as the Farley Field House parking lot.

Stam also noted the necessity of maintaining power throughout such weather emergencies. Director of Dining Mary Kennedy said that this was also a major concern of Dining Service.

“That’s why I’m here,” said Kennedy, in response to the possibility of a power outage. “Operationally they don’t really need me, but if something happened and people just couldn’t get here or we lost the power, then people [would] be too busy getting the food out to be making [special] arrangements.”

In order to make sure that as many dining employees as possible can make it to work during serious storms, Kennedy explained that the College makes reservations for the employees to stay the night at the nearby Brunswick Inn. 

“We spend a lot of time with who’s coming from where, [and if they] can get home at the end of the shift,” said Kennedy. “Usually they don’t want to stay; usually they want to go home, but then they realize it’s bad, so many of us stay [at the Inn].”

Kennedy said that one employee who needed to be at the dining hall by 5:30 a.m. was given a ride to work by a man plowing her neighborhood. “He saw her in her driveway trying to get out and he said ‘You think you’re going somewhere?’ and she said ‘I have to go to work!’”

In addition to causing some minor complications for commuting employees, not all students were thrilled with the storm. 

“I’ve grown up all my life just in sun and I used to complain about the sun, but I would take that over this any day,” said Amanda Rickman ’20, who is from Jamaica.

Other students took advantage of the lack of classes. 

“I saw some people sliding down the steps of the museum while on trays, and it actually worked,” said Clare Murphy ’20. “There was an excited vibe on campus, and I could tell people were really happy about having the day off.”

Kennedy picked up on this positive atmosphere at Thorne Hall on Monday. 

“People came in much more leisurely … [and] I didn’t miss the 1:10 p.m. rush when everyone comes in,” Kennedy said. “Everyone was pretty laid back, just having a good time chatting.”