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Snowmageddon 2017

On a quiet Tuesday night, the sky above Clark County and surrounding areas opened up, covering Washington State University Vancouver in a cold white blanket. The storm came on quickly, and within an hour there was half an inch of snow covering parking lots and walkways. The snow fell through Wednesday morning, shutting campus down for the next two days. Then came a thick layer of ice. Along with extra study time and selfies with snowmen, this year’s “snowmageddon” brought frustration for many students.

Welcome Week, the traditional kick-off to a new semester, was reduced to two days because of class cancelations. Classes resumed on Friday, but many students, faculty and staff could not make it to campus because the snow was turning to ice. Roadways became impassable, or too dangerous to navigate.

Bus service to WSU Vancouver, C-Tran’s Route 19, was diverted to a snow route on Jan. 10. With the bus only going as far as Legacy Hospital, anyone who needed to get to WSU Vancouver via public transit had to walk up the steep, icy hill on 29th Avenue, making the journey to campus perilous. Route 19 did not resume serving campus until Jan. 18, a full week after the snowstorm.

Many students rejoiced because of the snow days, sharing photos of themselves playing in the snow or of the landscape blanketed in white. Some students even visited campus throughout the week despite the official closure to snowboard, ski and sled down the hills. But others took to Twitter and Facebook to ask the university for earlier warnings of delays and closures.

Many thought things would get back to normal the following Tuesday. While some classes did resume on Jan. 17, many professors cancelled scheduled activities due to predictions of freezing rain. With ice accumulating along roadways leading east, word finally came of another campus closure at 1:15 p.m. Conditions finally thawed with warmer temperatures and rain falling on Jan. 18.

In severe weather, university policies urge students to keep their personal safety in mind with regard to road conditions and traveling to campus. Even if classes are not cancelled and campus is still open, students are encouraged to stay home if they believe it is unsafe to travel.

Campus closures are displayed on the main page of the WSU Vancouver website. Students can also sign up to receive notifications about closures by visiting https://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/safety-plan/emergency-communications-vancouver-campus-and-public.

To see which buses are on snow routes, and if the bus is coming to campus, visit C-Tran’s website at https://www.c-tran.com or call 360-695-0123.

For any additional questions about inclement weather, contact WSU Vancouver Department of Public Safety Services by phone at 360-546-9001, or in person at the Public Safety office located in Room 120 of the Classroom Building (VCLS 120).

Editor’s note: You can find a selection of photos shared by students with the hashtag #snowcougs on page 2 of this issue. And it’s not too late to add your photos to this frosty gallery.

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