Editorial: Students get buried by record snowfall

One look at Rider’s campuses and it’s easy to see: We have had a lot of snow. Since the start of the new year, Lawrence Township has received close to 35 inches of snow, with more than half of that coming from the Jan. 26-27 storm alone, according to the Office of New Jersey State Climatologist.

Facilities employees were working around the clock trying to keep students safe in the snow and ice, said Dean of Students Anthony Campbell. We greatly appreciate the fact that they dedicated all of their time to us, but after the snow fell, students still had to take some matters into their own hands.

One of the problems students faced was digging their cars out after the snow hit. Needless to say, cars were blocked in on all four sides, so moving the snow proved challenging. An obvious solution to removing the snow would be to shovel it away. But only a small number of students have access to shovels. Public Safety does have 10 shovels on hand, but with several thousand students on campus, that won’t help much.

In times like these, residence halls could look into keeping a few shovels in the building for student use.  Anyone living in a residence hall could follow the same process as he or she would at the Public Safety office: sign out a shovel, take it to the parking lot, use it to uncover the car and return it to their residence hall office. Students have to return to the dorms anyway, so it only makes sense to get a shovel from there.

Rider has tried to clean out the parking lots as best as it can, but it’s difficult to clear out the snow when there are hundreds of cars still there. On Monday afternoon, West Village residents were sent an e-mail telling them to move their cars by 10 p.m. that night so that plows would be free to clean out all of the snow from the lot. This alert spared students from having to shovel themselves out, and it freed up extra spots that were previously covered in snow and ice. While this was a great idea and definitely made it easier for students to park in the lot, it wouldn’t work as well for other lots. If the school tried to clear out the bigger parking lots, such as R and Z, where would all of the cars go? R and Z are bigger lots and are usually full.

It could work, however, if each lot was done in parts over the weekend. Maybe if all students who were left moved their cars to the commuter lots or the lot by the tennis courts, the smaller lots could be plowed out. Of course, it would take 100 percent student involvement, and that’s where we could encounter problems.

The clean-up team was here for 24 hours straight from Wednesday into Thursday putting down salt, shoveling snow from sidewalks and plowing parking lots. According to Larry Toth, Rider’s Manager of Grounds, each person on the crew has his or her own designated area to plow or shovel. Of course, all of the parts of campus have people working to clear the walkways, but higher up on the priority list are the academic buildings, Daly’s, the Student Recreation Center, Alumni Gym and handicap walkways.

So far, Rider has done a great job at working with what they have and making the sidewalks and pathways on campus free of snow. Students just need more access to tools to help themselves while facilities workers are taking care of the overall campus. The winter season is still not over, so some of these changes could still go into effect this month, and at the latest, next year.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Angelique Lee.

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