News, On Campus

Winter Storm Niko Causes University to Close, Students Celebrate

Winter Storm Niko brought 10 inches of snow and over four hours of blizzard conditions to Boston last Thursday. Following suit with Boston Public Schools and other universities in the area, Boston College officially announced its closing on Wednesday at 10:31 p.m. via Facebook, Twitter, and its emergency notification system. Boston University, Northeastern University, and Harvard University announced their closings earlier that evening.

Besides classes and events being cancelled, several dining halls were closed. Those that remained open closed two hours early for the safety of the dining staff. Shuttle service was also interrupted.

The University chose to close based on the findings of the Emergency Management Executive Team, a division of the Office of Emergency Management that includes administration from facilities, the Office of Residential Life, the Boston College Police Department, the president’s office, the vice president’s office, and the office of the provost.

The team discussed what actions needed to happen to prepare for the storm starting on Tuesday. Facilities decided how many snow plows it needed and hired outside contractors to help plow the snow. BCPD put additional officers on duty and BC Emergency Medical Services positioned workers in different areas like Upper Campus and Newton Campus to better respond to a potential emergency. Dining increased its inventory for food in case shipments were delayed.

“Unfortunately, we deal with enough winter storms that we have practice with it,” Tommaney said.

Ultimately, the final decision of whether to close BC was made by University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead, and Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley. Quigley examined the academic impacts of the storm, and Lochhead looked at how the storm would affect on the different offices at BC. The University tries its best to remain open, Tommaney said, but Thursday’s forecast was severe enough to close.

While members of the administration were preparing for the adverse effects of the storm, students were preparing to have fun on their day off.

Raj Singh, CSOM ’19, created a Facebook event titled “Snowball Fight in the Stokes Quad.” He saw that other universities, like Brown and Yale, were hosting their own snowball fights, and he wanted BC to join in on the fun. Over 300 people indicated they were attending the event on Facebook. Singh said between 50 and 75 people showed up to the snowball fight.

After Singh left the snowball fight and retreated back to his dorm, he watched other students continue the fight through the Stokes webcam online.

“I wanted to bring everyone’s spirits up and get them into the mood to have a good time,” Singh said.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

February 13, 2017