Family Weekend weathers storm

The storm set new records with over 20 inches of snowfall in the northeastern part of Connecticut. The original record for October was 9.5 inches, recorded in Norfolk, Conn. in 1987.
The storm set new records with over 20 inches of snowfall in the northeastern part of Connecticut. The original record for October was 9.5 inches, recorded in Norfolk, Conn. in 1987. Photo by Sharon Yin.

Snow knocked on Yale’s door this year just after Family Weekend visitors arrived and slightly before students donned their Halloween costumes.

Though the weekend’s unseasonable snow storm set a record for power outages in the state of Connecticut, the sudden adverse weather had a less noticeable impact on those visiting New Haven during Family Weekend. The snow that blanketed the Elm City caused trip cancellations and flight delays, and hotels in the New Haven area reported increased same-day hotel reservations for Sunday night. But 12 of 15 students interviewed said the snow did not put a damper on their Family Weekend activities.

“All the Yalies and their families have been incredibly good sports about this, especially given that many of them on their last visit here had to deal with a hurricane,” Frank Keil, chair of the Council of Masters, said in a Saturday night email.

While the snow had ceased to fall by Sunday morning, hotels continued to feel the effects of the snowstorm Sunday night as the number of same-day reservations spiked at the Omni Hotel, the Courtyard Marriott and The Study at Yale. Michael Boadu, a front office manager at the Courtyard Marriott on Whalley Avenue, said the hotel had only 47 reservations for Sunday night prior to this weekend but that now all 207 rooms have been filled.

The snow seemed to have a greater impact on students whose parents had driven to New Haven ­— and were facing poor road conditions — than on those who had flown into the city before the bad weather struck, said Daniel O’Connor ’13, chief master’s aide for Berkeley College. His own family had planned to drive down from Westwood, Mass. on Saturday, O’Connor said, but was deterred by the storm.

For those who had arrived safely to campus, all events scheduled by the University took place as planned, with the exception of tours of the Yale Farm.

Yale Farm student manager Zoe Reich-Aviles ’15 said the farm had planned to offer wood-fired pizza and three tours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, but was forced to call off those plans because of the snow. The farm also cancelled routine volunteer work on Sunday, she added.

Silliman Master Judith Krauss said the turnout at the reception she hosted for families was smaller than expected. While Krauss said she planned for 200 people to attend the event, she estimated that 150 to 160 showed up but stayed longer than usual.

“Although the weather may have deterred some from attending, I think it actually encouraged others to come and stay a bit longer than usual,” Krauss said. “People seemed to be enjoying the fires in the fireplaces and visiting with each other.”

All five visitor center tours that were scheduled to take place Saturday afternoon also continued through the peak of the storm, head tour guide Jonny Barclay ’13 said. He added that he had not heard of any problems with Family Weekend tours, adding that Yale generally gives tours regardless of weather conditions.

O’Connor said he noticed people casually commenting on the bad luck of the freshman class at the Saturday master’s reception he staffed in Berkeley. The class of 2015 has now battled rain during Bulldog Days, weathered Hurricane Irene during Camp Yale and faced a “wintry mix” at Family Weekend, he said.

“Perhaps they are cursed,” O’Connor quipped.

Still, all 15 Yale students interviewed said they and their families did not face significant difficulties from the weather.

Linda Palisano, who was visiting her son Mike Palisano ’14 from Drexel Hill, Pa., said she attended more indoor events than she had originally planned because of the snow.

But many visiting family members interviewed said they did not alter their plans because of the weather.

Stefano Malfitano ’14, whose parents were visiting from Italy, said he and his family were still able to see “95 percent of what they wanted to see” and that his parents enjoyed the snow-covered campus. He added that the snowy weather would only have been an issue had it continued through Sunday afternoon and prevented his parents from catching their flight home from New York City.

Family Weekend ran Friday through Sunday.

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