Students and professors at Castleton were greeted with a rare occurrence last week thanks to Winter Storm Stella. Campus was closed for two snow days in a row.
Students and faculty were first notified by an email saying that the campus would close at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by another that the university would be closed altogether, and finally another saying that it would remain closed for classes on Wednesday.
Due to the amount of snow administration at the university had to declare a “snow emergency” in order to clear the residential lots.
“We declare a snow emergency and we tell everybody who is in a residential lot that they have 24 hours to move their car,” Dean of Students Dennis Proulx said in a recent phone interview, “so that we can have a clear lot to plow.”
According to Proulx, part of the reason that commuter lots are closed every night is so the college can declare a snow emergency if necessary.
“Our current students don't understand the concept of snow emergency, because we haven’t had to go through it,” Proulx said.
According to an article published in the Castleton Spartan in February, snow days cause a logistic issue for professors as well as students, one that everyone may not realize.
“I think professors are very aware of a couple things,” Proulx said, “They know that the student has paid for that class, and they understand if the class doesn’t run, that’s an economic issue for the pocketbook of our students.”
Political science professor Rich Clark agrees.
“Fourteen weeks is a short period of time to cover a broad subject,” Clark said, “You lose one class period, I feel like we’ve lost not only momentum, but we lose the breadth that we're supposed to handle in a short span of a semester.”
Clark also said that losing the days during the semester was unfair to the students as well.
“We build an academic schedule around this artificial time frame in which you’re supposed to learn things,” Clark said, “It makes it really difficult, I think, to meet the objectives of a course that is well planned out. Lose one, and I have to decide now, ‘What is it that students can do without?’ which is a really awkward position to be in as an academic.”