Winter brings salt deficiency, hardships to students
The winter season this year proved to be one of the most harrowing for students relying on any form of transportation. Sub-zero temperatures and 52.7 inches of total snowfall over the course of the winter made it a struggle for the University to stay in operation.
It was recorded as the sixth-highest snowfall in the last 102 years. In January and February alone, New Brunswick battled more than 40 inches of snow, said New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson in an article published in The Daily Targum.
Students would often lose footing on patches of ice or end up knee-deep in snow from misjudged steps. Many piles of snow were taller than the average college student, and sheets of thick ice would stretch for blocks on end.
Street parking was especially sparse due to students ignoring signs stating “No parking when road is snow-covered” and lack of community collaboration.
At one point on Feb. 3, the administration sent an official announcement at 12:00 p.m. to cancel classes for 3 p.m. the same day, according to a Daily Targum editorial release. With off-campus commuters forming a good portion of the student body, the return home was especially difficult given the treacherous conditions.
Joseph Slezak, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior, admitted to driving to campus and nearly getting into an accident before a school closing was announced, according to an article in The Daily Targum.
Dianne Gravatt, director of Environmental Services and Grounds at Rutgers University, said via email correspondence the personnel in the University Facilities and Capital Planning Department worked tirelessly to maintain safe travel conditions.
Before an anticipated storm, Rutgers sprayed roads with a vegetable-based brine solution that acts similarly to salt, she said. During the snowstorms, they used plows on the salted roads.
“There have been several storms in which we have had staff working around the clock to keep the residents and staff safe, buses moving and dining halls open,” she said.
Their efforts contributed to keeping 36 miles of roads, 32 miles of sidewalks and more than 20,000 parking spaces safe, she said in the article.
While January was colder than average, weather has generally become warmer over the past decade, said Anthony Broccoli, a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, according to another Daily Targum article.
Broccoli pointed out the higher frequency of record-high temperatures than record-low temperatures achieved since the 2000s.
In a column for The Daily Targum, Emilie Broek described the experiences of international students, such as Chenjie Zhu, who saw snow for the first time.
The reactions after the heavy season ranged from unsatisfied to joyful.
“I was so excited about snow,” Zhu said in the column. “My dream was that I could be walking while the snow fell. Back home, I only saw snow three times, so I was excited. But now I’m tired because classes are always getting canceled.”