Manchester snow cave photo
On their extra days out of class, students found ways to have fun despite the cold weather. A group is seen here gathered inside a snow cave they built.
Photo by August Elliott

Winter Storm Hits Midwest; Closes Campus for Two Days

Heather Gierke

Between a water main breaking on the first morning of class and a snowstorm that followed two days later, Manchester University students received an extra few days off between the end of the January term and the beginning of the Spring term.

Many students attended classes normally at the beginning of the week, but freezing temperatures and significant snowfall led to classes being cancelled or moved online for the rest. Some professors chose to hold class over the popular video calling app Zoom; however, due to the water break on Monday, which also resulted in class being cancelled or run online, many of the classes hadn’t met yet, so some professors chose to cancel class in favor of wanting to see the students face to face for the first class.

With a lot of time on their hands and nowhere to go, students had to find ways to pass the time.

A few players of the MU esports team attempted to create a “cave” in a snow pile outside of Calvin Ulrey. Armed with the “head of a shovel” and determination, seven hard-working players dug a “cave” big enough to fit eight people inside. “It was a lot of fun,” said Adrian Allen, sophomore, “Daniel (Barbre) put on some fun sea shanties and we got to excavating.”

The players dug for four hours, with only a break to get some hot chocolate. They took turns using the shovel. “I did most of the work,” said Barbre, sophomore, with a wink. “Don’t let them tell you otherwise.”

Many students found entertainment online, using the snow days to catch up on Netflix series, or play video games with friends. Karen Jimenez, a first year, started watching “Euphoria” over January term but due to the snowstorm, she found that she could “finally” catch up on the latest episode and talk about it with her friends. “It’s a good conversation starter,” she said. “I can ask my friends, ‘did you see what Rue did last episode?’ and most of my friends did see it.”

Other people booted up their favorite console and got their friends together. “With hours of free time, what else are you supposed to do?” said Que’Shaun Julius, a junior, “I put my headset on and played Overwatch with my friends from back home.”

A few students went home before the storm hit, so they got some unexpected additional time with their family. It also gave them an opportunity to see their pets. “I missed my cat Skunk,” said Ashlynn Rogers, first-year. “I hadn’t been home in a while and she was very happy to see me.”

For some people, being on campus with nothing to do reminded them of the most popular New Year’s resolution: exercise. These students found time to head to the PERC and try out the vast array of equipment. “It’s pretty nice to see people working on themselves,” Jimenez said. “It reminds me of when I first started.”

Even students who might not typically exercise or who were initially worried about being ridiculed about their current level of athleticism went. “I just want everyone to feel comfortable,” Barbre said. “It’s important to not give up, and an unwelcoming environment can scare away people who just want to work on themselves.”