As the campus begins the seasonal transition to fall, the temperature dip is reminiscent of last year’s heavier-than-average winter season. With speculations of the possibility of another winter “much colder than normal” from the Farmer’s Almanac, students, faculty and the university as a whole are gearing up for cold. To avoid the inevitable sliding down icy sidewalks and slipping down staircases, both Lehigh Facilities Services and students are taking precautions to deal with this upcoming winter.
In preparation for the season’s challenges at hand, Facility Services has taken measures to make snow and ice removal more efficient with both mechanical equipment and hand shovels. Despite this, there are still parts of the campus layout that cause trouble during snow removal.
“The Packer campus is a particular challenge, with so many sets of steps, making the use of and movement of machines can be difficult,” said Gary Falasca, Facility Services Director.
Nevertheless, Facility Services is prepared and already taking measures to pre-plan for the possible heavy winter season.
“Personal awareness of safety, especially in icy conditions, is paramount,” Falasca said. “Unfortunately, the campus is built on a hillside facing north, so we do not get much sun during winter months. Wear appropriate footwear and be mindful that ice on walkways, steps and roadways is not always visible, and try as we do, the ice and snow cannot all be removed at once.”
In addition, it is advised that those students and faculty members with vehicles on campus should be aware of visibility and icy road conditions.
While student opinion on the winter season may differ, there’s one consensus: A good pair of boots is crucial. Whether it’s making snow angels and snowmen, or making sure to keep warm, a severe winter presents both challenges and opportunities.
“Slipping and falling is definitely the worst part of winter here,” said Sam Bernstein, ’16, an Ultimate Frisbee player at Lehigh. “Boots are definitely essential.”
To ensure that students in on-campus residence halls are dealing with the weather during winter months, residence hall Gryphons play a role in making sure their residents are aware of weather reports and possible campus closures.
Logan Hodges ’16, a Gryphon of Richards, appreciates the colder season.
“I’m a person who likes the snow, (and) I’ve always really enjoyed the winter,” he said. “This campus is definitely beautiful when it snows.”
Hodges emphasized the importance of morale during the winter.
“Second semester, in the middle of winter, can drag on if it’s not sunny out, it can be tough to motivate yourself to even leave your hall,” Hodges said. “So, I may treat my residents to coffee and snacks to raise morale or put on an event in the case of a snow day.”
While another severe winter may lead to difficulties traveling around the university, it opens up the possibility for snow-related activities around campus. From snowball fights or building snowmen on the University Center front lawn to drinking hot chocolate or lattes from Saxby’s, students can find something to look forward to during the winter months.
Many have different sentiments towards the winter, cold, and snow, but Sandi Duncan — managing editor of the Farmer’s Almanac — takes a light-hearted approach to the season.
“When it snows you have two options: Shovel or make snow angels,” Duncan said in an Associated Press article last winter.
As the campus gears up for what could be another rough winter, it can be assured that road salt, a solid pair boots and a careful step are essential to get through the upcoming months at Lehigh. In the case that the speculations are accurate, it’s important to stay warm, stay on your feet, stay aware of LU-Alerts and to enjoy all that Lehigh has to offer throughout the semester and into the next.