By: Cory Berlekamp
As students of the University of Findlay arrive back for the spring semester, the record setting low temperatures have lifted for more reasonable weather during the first two weeks of the year.
According to Newsweek, Sub-zero temperatures hit the Midwest along with a Bomb Cyclone on the East Coast bringing freezing temperatures all the way down to the southern United States. For Findlay’s students, though, it is business as usual as classes started on Monday, Jan. 8.
“I didn’t think too much about it, I mostly thought I would just deal with it,” Erin Spradlin, a junior at the University of Findlay, said. Spradlin travelled back to her hometown of Dayton, Oh. for Christmas break and drove back the Friday before the semester.
“Of course it is Ohio so we have pretty bi-polar weather, it went from pretty okay to holy cow we got snow,” said Spradlin. “My only worry with travelling from home to here was because of icy weather, I wouldn’t want to get in to a car accident.”
Eighteen people have died in weather-related accidents during the cold spell including four people in North Carolina and three in Texas. But as of Monday, temperatures climbed back up to the 33 degrees fahrenheit and are forecasted to reach in to the 40s on Wednesday.
The gentler conditions are welcomed by the students, but Cody Fagan, operations coordinator of the physical plant at the University of Findlay, is prepared for a cold winter and is making sure the sidewalks are safe for those in attendance this semester. The Physical Plant is responsible for all things maintenance at the University, from the plumbing and heating in the buildings to landscaping and maintenance on the grounds.
“We start in September when we buy bag salt in bulk,” said Fagan. “In late October it’s a switch over basically from grounds and landscaping to winter; snow removal, ice removal, etcetera.”
Fagan has been with the University for two years and after two mild winters, is ready for a harsher season. “We use lawn tractors [to plow sidewalks],” said Fagan. “They all have plows on the front of them, they have snow blower attachments if needed and they have salt spreaders on the back.”
The preparation for a safe walk to classes is welcomed by the student and faculty, but those who commute still have to make the trek to Findlay every day. As a student commuter from Perrysburg, Ohio, Sarah Baer finds the drive in the winters to be less than enjoyable.
“It’s about 40 minutes [to drive] on a good day, 45 in this weather,” said Baer. “As a child yes, I loved going sledding and playing in the snow but now the snow is just annoying.”
Although the drive to class can be rough at times for commuters, safely getting from building to building on campus is still the priority for Fagan.
“If there is an area that you see that wasn’t treated or wasn’t treated properly, we would like someone to write a work order or call in to the security office,” said Fagan. “We try to cover every area multiple times throughout the day but there are things we can miss.”
Although the maintenance crew does their best to keep the sidewalks clear, Fagan believes that students and faculty can also help themselves by a wardrobe change.
“Proper footwear is sometimes where we see an issue,” said Fagan. “I know it is not the most glamorous thing to wear boots, but sometimes when it is as cold as it is and it is as slushy or wet as it is, proper footwear makes a big difference in keeping people upright.”