Bowdoin students bundled up for the biggest snowstorm of the school year last weekend, as Winter Storm Nemo dumped more than two feet of snow on Maine and much of the Northeast. Portland recorded a total snowfall of 31.9 inches, an all-time record.
The heavy snowfall and gusting winds prompted many departments on campus to take additional precautions. Director of Facilities Operations and Maintenance Ted Stam said that keeping roads and paths clear was the biggest challenge facing his department.
“Safe passage for students, employees and visitors of the College is of the highest importance to us,” he said.
In order to accomplish this, eight staff members as well as externally-contracted services plowed around campus and also salted and sanded pedestrian walkways.
All employees who were not members of the grounds crew were asked not to come in on Friday due to the storm.
“Employee safety is of high concern to us, and if they don’t need to be on the roads, they should not be on the roads,” Stam said.
Overall, Stam considered Facilities’ management of the storm to be a success.
“I think we did very well, considering the amount of snow we had in such a short period of time,” he said.
Dining Service also faced challenges due to the snowstorm. Director of Dining and Bookstore Services Mary Lou Kennedy said that the greatest issue was “lining all of our staffing up so that we knew everybody would be able to safely arrive at work.”
Because of the danger of driving in such severe weather conditions, many Dining employees were given the opportunity to stay the night in Brunswick to keep the dining halls running successfully.
“We made arrangements…that we could house some staff at a couple of local hotels so that they wouldn’t have to drive so far going home after Super Snack,” said Kennedy. “They stayed right down the street and they were very happy.”
Kennedy also noted that the storm produced trends in where students chose to dine. About 125 more students than usual ate at Moulton on Friday night, suggesting that many first years were reluctant to travel to Thorne in the blizzard, or to venture to downtown Brunswick.
Overall, students seemed to react enthusiastically to Nemo, especially those experiencing a blizzard for the first time.
“It was really exciting for me, because in L.A., we have to drive two hours to see snow, as opposed to waking up and going outside your dorm and seeing two feet of snow,” said May Kim ’16.
Even students accustomed to the snow were surprised by the duration of the snowstorm.
“I’m from New Jersey, but I’ve never seen a storm that intense, ever. This was the first time that I was kind of scared,” said Vanessa Rendon-Vasquez ’13. “When I went out to get dinner, I thought the blizzard was going to actually move me.”
“I live in N.Y.C., so it wasn’t a first, but the thing about Maine snow is that it sticks around—there aren’t plows everywhere,” said Arhea Marshall ’15.
Precautions commonly taken against the blizzard included not driving and staying inside unless absolutely necessary. However, not all students viewed the storm as a threat.
“I didn’t see it as a danger—it was more an East Coast phenomenon,” said Kim. “It was more exciting than scary for me.”