by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
On the Friday before Spring Break at approximately 1:30 p.m., Providence College lost power due to the high winds and rain from a Nor’easter. All three back up generators on campus failed, there was no WiFi or phone service, and it was not possible to distribute the food left by Sodexo.
Power was restored to campus approximately 24 hours later on Saturday.
“I wasn’t upset about the power itself because when it comes to the weather, sometimes there is nothing you can do or control,” said Kristen Colabatistto ’19, who lives in Davis Hall and was here during the storm. “I was concerned about safety though because the entrance of Davis Hall was left open and unlocked because you could not swipe in.”
Jenna Shanley ’18, who lives in DiTraglia Hall said, “I felt bad for underclassmen because while I have a car and could go off campus to get what I needed like lanterns or food, the underclassmen who don’t have cars were stuck.” She suggested that the College should have lanterns and nonperishable food in stock in the future for distribution.
“I would have appreciated if we were informed more frequently,” said Colabatistto. “I know the school did the best that it could, but communication is key.” She explained that it was comforting to have other students on campus and was thankful there were still people living in her building during the black out.
“I was off campus all day and had power so I invited friends to come over to shower and charge their phones,” said Cassandra Caggiano ’18, who said the storm affected her travel plans. She also explained that in the future, if the campus lost power, the College should still be in contact with students off-campus, who could potentially be resources to the community.
“In any type of situation regarding school closing due to snow or something that happened last Friday, administration will always do an “after action response,” explained Steven Sears, dean of students. “During this, we look at what we did well, what worked, and what didn’t work based on conversations with all the constituents that were impacted.”
He used the snow day this past Tuesday as an example, saying it was clear the College was much more prepared for the snow day than it was for the day of the nor’easter. “After Friday, we discussed what we can improve on and what things happened that were unexpected and come up with an action plan for the future.”
“I was in Slavin when the power first went out,” said Catie Capolongo ‘19. “It was pretty freaky seeing Slavin so dark.” She explained that there was a huge presence of security officers in Slavin when the power first went out.
The Office of Residence Life provided pizzas to each of the dormitories on Friday, and was well staffed. “Our staff was available to assist students with their needs,” said Katrina Alica, administrative coordinator at the Office of Residence Life. “After emergency management situations, we are always part of discussions to review what happened and discuss ways to improve.”
Jim Rizzo, the Help Desk manager, sent out an email to the PC community during the storm detailing that when the campus lost power, the IT Department was required to power down, and services such as Sakai, CyberFriar, and email for some faculty and staff were unavaiable. By Saturday evening, these services were all back up.
Dean Sears explained that the emergency power did not work as it was supposed to, but this has been fixed and is something that will not happen again. “We are so appreciative for the teamwork and efforts by residence life, facilities, and security.”