The costs of closing campus
The snowstorms that blanketed cars and streets and closed the University of Washington campuses have gone away. Feb. 4–5, Feb. 8 and Feb. 11–12 were all days where the three UW campuses shutdown. In the storms wake, campus closures left students, professors and administrators trying to get themselves back up to speed with where they should currently be at. But exactly how much has the snow shutdowns cost everyone?
For students, the snow closed down buildings and resources that are important to success in classes and studying. Places like the library and Teaching and Learning Center — where students can get help with school work, especially on researching and writing papers — were inaccessible. The counseling centers and the Pantry, which provides food and hygiene supplies to students — especially to low income students and students in need — were closed down as well. To put a monetary value on how much the snow interrupted their education, the storm cost students anywhere from $250.24 to $375.36, based on a per-hour breakdown of tuition.
Some students had problems with traveling even after the UW campuses reopened. Certain roadways were still covered in snow by the time UW Tacoma reopened on Feb. 13. When the rain-snow mix came the following days, snow on the ground turned to slush, which can be just as dangerous to drive in as snow or ice.
“Even though the campus reopened Wednesday [Feb. 13], the roads were still bad where I was,” UWT senior and U.S. History major Abigail Zirinsky said. “I couldn’t get up one of the hills because the snow and slush was still so bad. I had to miss my classes on Thursday [Feb. 14] too because of the road conditions.”
Students who are parents or older siblings were confronted with another problem altogether — some school districts, such as Tacoma Public Schools, stayed closed or had delayed start times even after UWT reopened. This meant that students who normally counted on their children or younger siblings to be in school while they are in school themselves had to find and make other plans and still keep up with their education.
Faculty faced different challenges in recuperating from the snowstorm. Midterms were pushed back into the latter parts of weeks six and seven. Assignments had to be moved around, due dates had to be extended and even appointments and office hours were shifted around to help accommodate students.
Campus administration had important meetings and planned events around campus were postponed and pushed back to later dates. Even several events were postponed, one of them including the annual Huskies on the Hill, which was scheduled for Feb. 11. Huskies on the Hill is a tri-campus event where students from UW Bothell, Seattle and Tacoma stay all day in Olympia to lobby congress for higher education.
Administration from both UW Tacoma and UW Seattle kept students updated with the important information regarding the status of the campuses. They also had the responsibility of ensuring that students had the help and support they needed when coming back to school after all of the delays.
“We recognize that the weather over the last several days can be taxing on everyone’s energy and resources,” said an email sent to all students by the Student and Engagement Services Team. “Please know that we have a number of programs and services available through campus to support you.”