By Laura Carr
Thursday, 8:59 a.m.: “This is a DU Alert weather advisory – we are currently under a freezing rain advisory, sidewalks and other surfaces are extremely slick; please use caution.” Thursday, 11:29 p.m.: “Due to snow and icy road conditions please limit travel on campus.” Saturday, 4:59 p.m.: “DU Alert: We are under a winter weather alert from 12 a.m. tonight to 7 a.m. on 2/2. Snow will be 2-6” and below zero wind chill; use caution when driving or walking.” Sunday, 12:03 p.m.: “From Denison Campus Safety: Due to the recent snowfall, roadways in and around Denison are hazardous and may be icy; motorists are urged to drive cautiously.”
Thanks, 231-77, or ‘DU Alerts,’ as it is more commonly known. I really appreciate all of the text message, email and voicemail warnings that have blown up my phone this past week, reminding me that traveling on campus might be a bit of an issue because of the hazardous conditions.
But you know what I really would have liked? Maybe a few snow days here and there. While it has been fun ice-skating across A-quad to class, slipping on the sidewalks and burying my face in thick scarves to keep the icy air from rendering me breathless, I don’t appreciate the health risks that I have been subjected to.
I was introduced to the frigid weather conditions of a winter in the Midwest, which was most notably highlighted by the infamous Polar Vortex last year. There was one snow day at Denison last year.
I have trecked through sub-zero degree temperatures from West Quad to A-quad and slipped down an entire flight of stairs right by Smith Hall (to the amusement of onlooking peers). I have thoroughly enjoyed being blinded by snow to the point that I’ve had to don sunglasses on my way to class.
I have also had the pleasure of making snow angels and trying to instigate snowball fights, seen a giant snowman stand majestically in the center of East Quad and enjoyed the satisfying crunch of snow underneath my feet.
To many people’s surprise, especially my family and friends back home in Los Angeles, I actually enjoy winter. However, I think there should be a limit to how frequently one should go out in these conditions. As DU Alerts has so courteously reminded the Denison community, adventuring into Denison’s arctic tundra poses numerous risks. I have heard rumors of people breaking bones, and I know for a fact that many people have caught strains of the flu, especially because I am one of those people.
I respect Denison’s commitment to providing its students with an exemplary liberal arts education, but not at the expense of my and my peers’ health. Many classes have strict attendance policies, which drives many sick students to attend class, even if they pose the risk of passing on their illness to a classmate. Of course, there is the option of going to Whisler and getting a note to miss class for the day, but the student still misses an entire 50-80 minutes of valuable class time.
Well, I have an answer to this problem. A snow day. Instead of sending out warnings about inclement weather, why don’t we follow Kenyon, OSU and other Central Ohio schools’ leads and cancel classes for the day? As I’m sure many of my fellow peers would agree, it is somewhat irritating to receive a DU Alert telling me that the weather is bad, especially when I can see that for myself, but that I should still attend class.
Even as I write this, the sky is spitting out freezing rain. I have two questions: 1) When will I get my DU Alert about this? and 2) How long will it take me to slip and slide from East Quad to A-quad tomorrow?
Photo Courtesy of Nelson Dow