What are the criteria for a Marquette snow day?


Photo by Vale*foto

Photo by Vale Cardenas/ [email protected]

The night before the snow day frequently called Snowpocalypse of 2010, Kathleen Schneider, a senior in the College of Health Sciences, recalls walking to Schroeder for dinner and being slapped with wind and snow. She could not see in front of her.

“The LIMOs and DPS officers were constantly picking people up against their will because it was too dangerous to be outside,” Schneider said.

Gisel Romero, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, remembers her roommate telling her – classes were cancelled –  when she woke up. Romero decided not to get excited until she saw the words “Marquette University closed” on the bottom of her television screen.

The February 2010 blizzard caused Marquette’s last snow day.

“The day before (the snow day) people were saying nothing would happen because they never cancel classes at the university level, but it happened,” Romero said.

Art Scheuber, vice president of administration, confirmed in an email that snow days are a rare occurrence in college. Classes that are scheduled play havoc with what a professor has planned for class activities and this only even gets worse if it is during finals week.

Most of Marquette’s undergraduate population live in the immediate area, so services like dining need to be provided whether class is cancelled or not. Some employees are required to come to campus despite the conditions.

The process in calling a snow day is somewhat ambiguous.

Scheuber first looks at the conditions in the immediate Marquette area by working through a mental checklist. Streets must be plowed and have little ice. Parking lots, sidewalks, and building entrances must be walkable. Facilities services grounds department must be able to keep up with the falling snow.

Scheuber said he also considers conditions of major highways and projected snowfall in the surrounding area to accommodate staff and commuter students. All of this information is compiled by the Department of Public Safety Shift Commander.

“It all depends on when the bad weather hits,” Scheuber said.

For this reason, day classes are cancelled while evening classes will resume as normal. In the case of the snow day of 2010, both morning and evening classes were cancelled.

Still, just because students got a free day does not mean it was fun. Schneider said she spent her classless day trying to figure out a chemistry lab report.

“Straz Tower lost all of their power,” Schneider said. “There were even a few  kids who got stuck in the elevator!”

Romero, on the other hand, participated in a snowball fight on Abbottsford field.

“(It was) a happy surprise as a freshman dealing with my first year in college,” Romero said.