Winter Storm Stella Impacts New England Schools

Campus operations worked to keep up with Winter Storm Stella. Photo by Victoria Mescall/Spectrum.

By Victoria Mescall

Circulation Manager & Staff Reporter

On Tuesday, March 14 Winter Storm Stella affected Sacred Heart University and the Northeast region of the United States.

The university closed all operations on Tuesday and delayed the start of business Wednesday due to cleanup of the aftermath of the snowstorm.

“Living off campus and on my own was a little bit of a hassle during the storm,” said sophomore Steve Musitano. “Since we only have one shovel and no car cleaners, my housemates and I had to break out the old credit card method and scrape away. Safe to say I now have a new card on the way.”

According to weather.com, Connecticut snowfall totals amounted to 21 inches in Middletown, 15.8 inches in at Windsor Locks-Bradley Int’l Airport (15.8 inches), and 7.1 inches in Bridgeport.

“One day it is 70 degrees and the next day it is snowing like we live in the arctic,” said Musitano.

During the storm, Chartwells Dining Services remained open through the 63’s dining hall, which operated Tuesday from 8 a.m. to midnight. Linda’s and other smaller food service outlets, such as Outtakes, were closed Tuesday.

“I’ve been here for 26 straight hours, but I don’t mind,” said Gary Hunt, a SHU Dining employee and winter storm essential university personnel member, in a university statement Wednesday. “We do it for the kids.”

Some students were still concerned about how safe the roads and parking lots were even days after the storm had passed.

“I’m a commuter so I was upset that we had class Wednesday,” said sophomore Alyssa Pezzella. “I wish they had taken the day and cleaned up the parking lots because it wasn’t safe.”

Due to the excess of snow in parking lots and ice on the roads, class schedules were also affected on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

“My 9:30 a.m. class was supposed to be cancelled but instead the professor started class at 10 a.m. after the delay,” said junior Katherine Seckler, “But the roads were so bad the majority of my class was late anyway.”

The hardest hit region of the United States and the northeast was in Vermont. Bolton Valley had a total snowfall of 58 inches. This was record snowfall for this area and was the highest total snowfall in New England for Winter Storm Stella on Tuesday.

“For those of you that spent Spring Break somewhere fun and warm, I got you a snow storm to welcome you back!” said Residence Hall Director Beth Anne Voight-Jause in an email to the residents of Jorge Bergoglio Hall.

Her email went on to inform her residents of precautionary measures to take in the event that the storm caused the university to close.

“Be prepared for the potential of power outages as well,” said Voight-Jause. “However, the university has generators that will keep the heat on if that happens.”

On Monday evening, the Office of Public Safety delivered a mass phone message via the Emergency Alert System to all members of the university announcing the closing of school Tuesday.

Officer Stephanie Trelli, the Coordinator of Safety and Security Programs for the Sacred Heart Department of Public Safety, sent out an email to students Monday morning as well, explaining emergency procedures and preparedness.

The university resumed normal business and class hours on Thursday morning.

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