Commuter students this winter have been faced with the dilemma of taking on the some non-ideal road conditions or missing classes on an almost daily basis. For on-campus students, it became a task just to walk to class or go to the local Laundromat. The cold weather, non-stop snow and icy roads led to snow days and dwindling attendance in classes that were held.
Rob Stover, a sophomore, knows first-hand the complications that the snow can bring about for a commuter. Missing a total of five classes in two weeks, he said he has endured about every winter hardship possible.
Living in Rutland, Stover has about a 20-minute drive to get to school. But many times this winter he had to leave more than 45 minutes early just to make it to class on time. Leaving this early means less sleep and longer days for Stover, but time wasn’t the only thing slowing him down.
Stover drives an old Ford Escort with no snow tires, which when mixed with the heavy amounts of snow, ice and slush, has proved to be nothing but trouble. And sometimes it was just the cold that slowed him down.
“There has been a few days when the car simply wouldn’t start,” Stover said, explaining that the low temperatures killed his car battery.
But a dead battery was the least of his worries on his way to class one morning. That day, his car spun out of control in heavy slush and left him stranded in a snow bank.
Missing too many classes weighs heavily on Stover’s mind and he said he tries to keep his teachers informed on his inconvenient reasons for missing class.
“I e-mailed my teacher from the snow bank so he would know why I wasn’t there,” he said.
Many of his teachers have understood and worked with Stover on missed assignments, but his inability to show up in class still counts as an absence.
Steven Josselyn, another Castleton State College commuter, was also left with car damage due to snow. He hit black ice on the highway on his way to Castleton from Rutland and smashed into a guard rail. Josselyn was not harmed — but his car was another story.
The damage cost him more than $2,000. “I should have just stayed home, I missed all my classes anyways,” he said.
Professor David Blow knows what it is like commuting back and forth from Castleton, making an hour drive from his Queensbury, N.Y. home. Blow, along with many other teachers, have to face similar road conditions as students yet seem to have a better attendance rate.
Blow admits that it has been a fairly rough winter but he said “sometimes students can be opportunists and use the weather as an excuse for skipping class.”
But while some dread the heavy snowfall others could not be happier. Many Castleton State College students attend this school simply because it is near some of the greatest mountains in Vermont. Kevin Grassi, a junior, lives for the snowfall and can’t wait to get to the mountain whenever possible.
“The college being so close to the mountain is a huge plus to going here” Grassi said.
Grassi also openly admits that he would easily skip a whole day of classes for a good powder day up at the mountain.
“There’s nothing that can stand between me and some fresh powder.