As a kid, who didn’t love snow days? Even now, when a snow day is announced at Wellesley, you can hear the cheers of students all over campus. However, not everyone is such a fan of snow days.
As many of us can attest, snow days can knock a syllabus completely off schedule. Professor Larry Rosenwald spoke about the challenges that snow days pose.
“The tricky thing about snow days is that it’s so hard (sometimes impossible) to find a time for a makeup class that works for everyone. I’ve sometimes scheduled two or even three makeup times when a class got cancelled for whatever reason, but that seems extreme–so a snow day means one class fewer in the semester, and if it’s a seminar you’re teaching, that means that one of 13 sessions is gone.”
Students who have experienced a snow day at Wellesley may have noticed that kitchen staff still report to work.
“It’s a community here,” explained Stone Davis dining hall staff member Neil Votta. “The students have to eat, so we have to be here. The snow day policy is that if you can get into work, you have to. But they understand if you can’t make it in.”
He went on to explain that in the past, kitchen workers were offered dorms to stay in overnight to ensure they would be there the next day. While that is no longer the case, they are offered a dorm to stay in should the weather conditions worsen and they don’t feel safe driving home at the end of the day.
Neil added that students are especially grateful for kitchen workers on snow days. “I’ve worked in food services all my life, and Wellesley students are always grateful, especially on a snow day. They thank us for coming in.”
As for students who live off campus or on the far reaches of campus — for example, French House, Cedar Lodge, French House, SCOOP and Instead — getting to classes in the winter can be tough. When it snows it gets harder to make it to commitments as the paths get slippier. To many of these students, snow days can be very helpful. When conditions are bad and a snow day isn’t called, it can be a long and dangerous walk or bike ride.
Ninotska Love, a Davis Scholar who lives in Cedar Lodge, weighed in on the commute to the Academic Quad in the snow.
“On a good day, [my commute is] probably 10 minutes, and to classes, for example, Founders building, 15 minutes,” said Love. “When it snows it is a little tricky sometimes it takes longer because I have to be more careful where I step. If maintenance hasn’t cleaned the snow it is very difficult to make it to campus faster.”
When the weather is bad but a snow day isn’t called, she mentioned that it can be a little scary to make the walk or ride. “Last semester I had a minor accident while riding the bike for all the snow on the ground. Then, I felt scared a bit, but it is never a problem, but not to the point of feeling unsafe.”
Love also described trying to get to her on-campus job in extreme weather conditions. “I work at the Wellesley Centers for Women, sometimes they are very helpful and some other times they put a million excuses especially if you are not on the riding list. I wish Wellesley had more accessibility to help students who are far from one place to another without waiting for the shuttle at times.”
As exciting as snow days can be for students, we should keep in mind that they can be stressful for faculty and staff. As annoyed as we are when we don’t get a snow day, know that it’s that much harder for members of the Wellesley community who have a longer commute. And although we are often grateful for a snow day, we must remember to appreciate the kitchen workers who make sacrifices to be here and the professors who give their free time in extra office hours and class sessions to help us make up what we missed.