Finding Nemo: Students Struggle and Succeed in Snowstorm

Emily Council ’16
Assistant Features Editor

On Friday morning snowstorm Nemo covered the Smith campus with two feet of snow as temperatures dropped to eight degrees and winds gusted to almost 50 miles an hour.  Dining halls closed early, staff were instructed to stay home and students were advised to remain safely within the confines of their houses. As half of downtown Northampton closed its doors, the campus’ residents were left to their own devices, with varying results. How did Smith students ride out the storm?

Olivia O’Connor ’16 found an interesting activity to pass the time. “I sat out in the middle of the Quad for [somewhere around] 20 minutes by myself,” said O’Connor. Her choice may have been among the more dramatic, though by no means the least creative.  Many Quad residents seemed to share her sentiments; the most occupied end of campus tried to make do as they were the last to be completely shoveled out. Students made pancakes, went sledding on Hospital Hill and near the pond and attended other festive celebrations.

Yet other students took the opportunity to see their campus in a new light as snow swirled beneath the streetlights, playing in the mini-Quad like happy children.  Some observed the ice forming beneath the bridge or ran from house to house, grateful for the tiny plows clearing the paths.

Smith students from different geographical backgrounds had varying opinions about the situation. “I’m from Maine, so it doesn’t even count as a storm,” said Victoria Hugo-Vidal ’14, shrugging. “My friends and I stayed in and read selections from a bad romance novel.” Her account was echoed by those who hail from within the region, the bulk of whom were nonplussed. “I don’t want to seem completely underwhelmed or anything.  At least now the green grass is covered,” said Aly Johnson-Kurts ’16, a Vermonter.

Ahalya Raman ’15 had a different perspective.  “I wear Converse everywhere and I don’t own snow boots,” said the native of India, surveying Chapin Lawn enthusiastically.  “It’s wonderful.”

Her excitement was mirrored by many for whom snow is either unusual or a complete novelty – these students found themselves in varying states of shock and awe, though some seemed almost resigned to the prospect.  “I got used to it,” said Chinomso Ezeh ’16, who is from Nigeria.  “It doesn’t snow at home.”

Kendall Edell ’15 from New Orleans, La., was “unable to navigate in the snow.” This confession came as a reflection of the struggles faced by many Smith students, some of whom had difficulty even leaving their homes to go explore their white surroundings. “Yesterday I had to be fished out of the snow by some girl smoking a cigarette,” she said.

“I lost my phone in the blizzard, so I’m hoping when the snow melts, to find it,” said  Riley Cushing ’15.

Other students objected to the parking ban, got first-hand experience with frostnip or complained on the Internet about the weather.  Many stayed in to cuddle or watch TV.  Vegans and vegetarians were disproportionately affected by the dining hall closings – Northrop, Gillett and Hubbard were all closed on Saturday, and the Gillett take-home dinner options were 80 percent non-vegan.

For a reminder of the trials and joys Smith students experienced during the Nor’easter, one can simply look outside their window to glimpse the snow blanketed on the campus’s many dining halls, dorms and academic buildings.   

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