In 2011, the Springfield College campus was twice devastated by unkind weather in a matter of months. The June 1st tornado ripped through the campus, forcing International Hall to be rapidly rebuilt before the fall semester, while a number of trees were taken down by the winds.
In October, the northeast was hit with a rare Nor’easter that added to the loss of trees on campus, most notably at East Campus.
This weekend, the same weekend as last year’s snowstorm, the East Coast prepared to be rocked by Hurricane Sandy. While Sandy did damage along several parts of the coast, Springfield and the western Mass. area remained relatively unharmed (though classes were canceled on Monday).
The relatively soft hit was something of a relief to the SC community, which had been on the wrong side of Mother Nature recently.
“Anytime you experience something, you’re more sensitive in the future,” said Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students David Braverman. “Tornadoes are quite different than hurricanes, but we’re still hurting from the tornado. We wanted to make sure no students were hurt.”
Friday morning, different SC departments came together to devise a response to the impending weather. Evacuation procedures were set into place, and other steps were taken to provide safety campus-wide. Services, like Cheney Hall, were opened to students in limited hours to ensure students could get food, but also return to residence halls to avoid increasing winds.
Braverman credited several departments for their preparations throughout the weekend.
“There was an incredible amount of preparation,” he said. “They were making arrangements with generators, making sure Northern Tree Service was on call to come in if trees were down on buildings and clear the trees. Everyone was on alert.”
Hurricane Sandy caused flooding in multiple parts of the country, which also became a concern to Springfield. According to the school, crews were on patrol clearing drains to avoid any flooding that could cause damage to residence halls or other buildings around campus.
Public Safety was also mentioned by Braverman, as they navigated the campus as a precaution to any destruction on campus.
Keeping power was a great asset to the campus, so everyone could stay in contact, whether it be by phone or e-mails.
“We were very fortunate no power was lost,” said Braverman.
This way, resident directors and assistants were able to relay messages to students as soon as updates were available.
“It was great in the way they responded,” said Braverman.
The effects are still evident on campus from past encounters with natural disasters, but Springfield College has used those as references for preparation in the future.
“I think it was one of those things where you want to be overprepared. We did a very good job of being as flexible as well as we could,” said Braverman. “We were very relieved we didn’t get hit like other places.”