Students staying on campus for spring break weathered Winter Storm Stella as it swept through New Haven on March 14, and they praised the efforts of Yale Dining to provide food for students during widespread restaurant closures.
As the blizzard slammed the East Coast, causing Connecticut, New York and New Jersey to each declare a state of emergency, the University sent out a series of emails alerting the Yale community, both on and off campus, to the storm’s status. Both the city and the state issued travel bans during the storm, which were lifted at 5 p.m. the evening of the storm. Meteorologists predicted that Winter Storm Stella would leave a snowfall of between 20 and 30 inches in New Haven, but ultimately the city saw around six inches of snow.
In total, Winter Storm Stella brought three to almost five feet of snow to parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, as well as winds over hurricane force to coastal New England. In New Haven, however, the consensus among students interviewed was that the blizzard did not live up to the hype.
Mohammed Akam ’20, who is from Arizona and had never previously experienced a blizzard, said the storm was a disappointment.
“It was rather underwhelming, and at some point we actually went for a walk outside, which was a hell of an experience,” Akam said.
Tony Wong ’20 said the storm was not as cold as he expected. He added that the only inconvenience he experienced was that New Haven stores closed in anticipation of the blizzard.
Snow has led to some form of University closure twice so far this year, the first on Feb. 10, when snow accumulations of 18 inches caused midday class cancellations.
This number is relatively high, given Yale’s longstanding record of not cancelling classes because of snow. In the 35 years between 1978 and 2013, Yale had zero official snow days.
A Yale Weather Alert was sent out on March 13 at 11:40 a.m. announcing that most of the University would be shut down between 7 a.m. on March 14 and 10 a.m. the following day.
On March 13, Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar sent an email to the Yale community announcing Yale’s closure, and noting that the Silliman and Grace Hopper college dining halls would be open for students to stock up on food prior to the storm.
The two dining halls set up a series of cardboard boxes filled with snacks, including yogurt, granola bars, various chips and biscuits, apples, oranges, hummus cups, canned soup, pre-made sandwiches and bottled juices and water.
“Shout out to Yale dining for keeping us fed during those two days,” Ting Gao ’20 said. “They’re the real MVPs.”
“I definitely commend the University’s decision to issue supplies, given that food was a problem already for a lot of students here for spring break,” Akam said. “I felt leaving a dining hall open would’ve been the obvious decision.”
Akam’s roommate, Branson Rideaux ’20, was also thankful for the food Yale provided for those students who remained on campus. He added that he and Akam were able to stretch the food out over a few days, saving them the hassle of leaving the dormitory to purchase food.