Snowpocalypse at the Hill: A Much-Needed Bonding Experience?
Issue   |   Mon, 10/31/2011 - 14:16
Brianda Reyes '14
A displaced student checks into Lewis-Sebring after being evacuated from his dorm

Students living in the Marsh, Tyler and Plimpton dormitoriess on the Hill were forced to evacuate their dormitories on Sunday evening, due to the crippling snowstorm that cut off power in several buildings across campus on Saturday night and left the dormitories without light or heat.

Dormitories on the Hill are connected to a separate power grid than the buildings on the immediate campus, and therefore did not receive power when it was restored to the rest of campus; hence the evacuation. Students were asked to check into Lewis-Sebring Commons, where housing was provided if the students could not spend a night with friends in other dormitories across campus. Valentine Dining Hall, which quickly became a hub of campus activity as the only building with power and an Internet connection, remained open until 9:00 p.m. on Sunday.

“The Police said that the emergency systems went out of power, resulting in no lighting and no heat [on] the Hill. [The Resident Counselors] were asked to help evacuate the students from the dorms as it would have been too cold and dangerous to stay there at night,” said Mike Milov ’14, RC of Marsh House. The lack of any form of lighting or heat made the conditions of the houses inhospitable for the residents on Sunday night.

Students on the Hill reported disappointment at the evacuation, after having enjoyed the bonding experience the snowstorm had provided.

“We found ourselves gathered in the common room with a few drinks, blankets, and, of course, flashlights. It was a great chance for the different residents to get together, catch up and talk about the absurdity of the snow in October,” said Zack Gerdes ’14, the RC of Tyler House. Students at Marsh reported similar experiences.

“It brought us together as a dorm — sitting by the fire, eating shared food and chatting,” said Abigail Gray ’14, one of the residents at Marsh. The dorm communities, according to the residents had come together in this time of crisis, playing games and talking to keep themselves busy.

“It was adorable,” commented Hannah Greenwald ’14. “It was the perfect opportunity for the various room groups to mix it up and get to know their neighbors,” added Gerdes.

Liya Rechtman ’14 explained, “It’s really hard sometimes, when you’re in the Amherst environment, to force yourself to stop working and take a break. Yesterday literally forced me to do so, however, and that felt good. It’s also interesting to see Amherst not be perfectly in control of every situation for a change … to be honest, it’s kind of fun.”

Students are now allowed to return to the dormitories on the Hill to collect their belongings, although power has not yet been restored in these dorms, and they have not yet been allowed to move back in. “Western Massachusetts Electric Company still has not been able to restore power to [those] residences. …[The] College may not allow students to stay in these residences overnight, as they do not have lighting of any sort (not to mention the lack of heat),” said an email from Area Coordinator Pamela Stawasz to residents of Humphries, Marsh, Plimpton and Tyler last night.

Students who can are encouraged to continue staying with their friends. “My friends on campus have been really supportive and helpful,” said Greenwald.

Though many students are still camping out with their friends, the College has continued to provide shelter and bedding to those who need it at Lewis-Sebring Commons.

Anchor
Comments
Zack Gerdes (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/31/2011 - 18:56

While I do completely agree that the time spent in our dorms without any power was a great bonding experience, this article only shows the Marsh aspect of it. Would have been nice to see the other two dorms of the hill mentioned. For example, residents of Tyler spent Saturday night together in our common room with drinks, stories, and general good times.

-Zack (The Tyler House RC)

Matthew DeButts (not verified) says:
Mon, 10/31/2011 - 19:33

To whom it may concern,

The author of this article is a Marsh resident. Every person she interviewed is a Marsh resident. The events she describes occurred only in Marsh. The RC she interviewed, Mike Milov, was not present at the time of the snowstorm.

There are two other dorms on the Hill and 50 non-Marsh residents. What were they doing? Who were they talking to? What do they have to say?

Please report on the Hill in its entirety.

All the best,
Matt, RC of Plimpton

Bianca Routt (not verified) says:
Tue, 11/08/2011 - 19:59

To whom it may concern,
The Zu is not on the Hill. Valid points concerning interviews for Plimpton and Tyler residents. However, the author of the article is a Marsh resident. Without cellular service, minimal, if any acces to wifi, she probably ran into her fellow Marsh residents at Val. The author was probably unable to make contact with any friends she may have at Plimpton and Tyler.
Great article and title Meghna!
Best Regards,
Bianca

Meghna Sridhar (not verified) says:
Tue, 11/01/2011 - 10:30

Hey guys!

Totally legit complaints- we uploaded the articles around the same night as or the next day of the snowpocaplypse, so at the time I could only interview whoever I could find in Val or whoever I could contact amidst all the chaos/lack of internet or phone service/lack of power for charging phones, etc. However now we're expanding and revising our snowstorm articles, including this one, and including updated versions on both the website and print editions. We'll be getting in touch with the relevant people for that soon!

Cheers,
Meg

Anonymous (not verified) says:
Wed, 11/02/2011 - 21:31

Not to mention the residents of Chapman, Humphries, and (I think) Newport who are also currently evacuated...

Lehua Gray (not verified) says:
Wed, 11/02/2011 - 23:37

The Zu isn't mentioned once. We're the only ones still sleeping on the floor of Lewis Sebring, and we'll be sleeping there tonight, too. Not even a token mention :-( We're people too! The most recent Amherst announcements also left out that the Zu is still without power, even though it listed all the other dorms.

Bianca Routt (not verified) says:
Tue, 11/08/2011 - 20:20

To whom it may concern,
The Zu is not on the Hill. Valid points concerning interviews for Plimpton and Tyler residents. However, the author of the article is a Marsh resident. Without cellular service, minimal, if any acces to wifi, she probably ran into her fellow Marsh residents at Val. The author was probably unable to make contact with any friends she may have at Plimpton and Tyler.
Great article and title Meghna!
Best Regards,
Bianca

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