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Northeastern students return to class after a snowy weekend

Posted by Your Town  February 11, 2013 07:03 PM

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A bench was covered in snow on the campus. Photo by Lauren Spinella)

As the Boston Public Schools announced that schools would be closed for a second day after the weekend’s massive storm, Northeastern University returned to business as usual Monday—sort of.

Faculty, staff and students arrived on the slush-covered campus, sometimes a little late and often by altering their usual routines. Mark Springer, a worker at Outtakes, a campus take-out market, walked an hour to work from his home in Dorchester Friday, Saturday and Sunday and returned by bus on Monday.

“This is my job – gotta feed the kids . . . It’s harder for others to get here,” he said of co-workers who live further away.

Students also had to adapt to transportation problems and delays to make their way to Monday classes.

Poonam Guggari, a graduate student from India, walked from her apartment to campus – an experience she described as “miserable.”

“My legs were frozen,” she said.

Tanay Sheh, also a graduate student from India, took the T to get to class Monday, arriving late because of delays. “The Ts were blocked, everything was shut down,” he said.

Lincoln McKie, a journalism professor who arrived on campus midday Monday, applauded NU for doing a better job clearing sidewalks and roads than the city as a whole.

“The campus roads and sidewalks are in a lot better shape than anywhere else I’ve seen,” McKie said. He also said he was pleased to find all of his work-study students reporting to campus on time Monday.

NU administrators recognized the school’s facilities crews for working tirelessly through the weekend to clear snow, and student volunteers for helping in the effort. About 40 Dining Services staff members stayed in the city from Thursday through the weekend, serving about 5,500 meals on Friday and another 6,500 on Saturday at International Village and Stetson East.

Once popular as a commuter school, NU now houses most of its students on campus; only about 11 percent are commuters.

NU President Joseph E. Aoun praised the storm-response efforts in a statement on the school’s website.

“A community is at its best when it comes together to keep its members safe,” he said. “This weekend’s historic blizzard proved just that—our fearless staff and brave students battled the elements to make sure that our campus remained a safe and secure environment.”

Despite the headaches of navigating to classes Monday, both on- and off-campus students said they enjoyed the Friday-Sunday “snowcation.”

Guggari, who had never experienced a blizzard before, said that while she was bored for the first part of the storm, she later ventured out and built her first snowman.

At the other end of the snow spectrum, Ryanne Olsen, a sophomore from Wisconsin who is used to heavy snowfall, said storm Nemo was no big deal -- and she seized the opportunity for a snowball fight.

Meanwhile, Ashley Allerheiligen, a freshman from Alabama, said she survived weekend crowds and a shortage of silverware at the dining hall, making do with plastic forks and plates. But she was most disappointed by the shortage of one campus snow-day essential.

“They ran out of clean trays to steal for sledding,” she said.


The bike was stuck in the snow. Photo by Abagail Sullivan.)

This article was reported and written under the supervision of Northeastern University journalism instructor Lisa Chedekel, as part of a collaboration between the Boston Globe and Northeastern.

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