Be prepared for the snow: Don't let UConn's winter catch you off guard

Spring semester is in full swing with full, chilly wind gusts and the promise of snow. The Dean's Office sent out its annual notice to students to prepare them for the harsh winter weather. (Junbo Huang/The Daily Campus)

With the famous Storrs winds in full gust and the threat of snow ever present, the University of Connecticut will take many measures to prepare for winter weather.

The Dean’s Office sent out an email on behalf of Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Eleanor JB Daugherty and Associate Vice President for Facilities Operations & Building Services Michael Jednak on Wednesday, stressing the UConn community’s health and safety as “the university’s top priority.”

It is important for students to protect themselves from the cold, making sure to wear proper winter weather attire and footwear. Students should also keep non-perishable food items and water in their residences in case winter weather prevents them from easily accessing dining facilities. Students with cars should “winterize” their vehicles by keeping emergency supplies such as a flashlight, batteries, an ice scraper/car shovel and traction sand in preparation for the snowstorm season, according to the email.

In the case of a snowstorm, “the campus is an enormous physical plant and our resources are prioritized when clearing snow.” UConn Facilities Operations & Building Services (FOBS), which is available 24/7 to respond to emergencies and work order requests on campus, also works to clear snow during severe storms, according to the email.

“The FOBS workers you have come to know inside the buildings, help with storm related issues outside. Please be cognizant of them operating equipment and recognize certain service levels may not be reached during inclement weather,” Daugherty and Jednak wrote in the email.

It is important to note that during a severe snowstorm, the clearing of snow is prioritized to the following areas:

  • Road access for emergency vehicles (fire, police, EMT)
  • Student access to critical areas like Student Health Services and dining halls
  • Emergency building repairs

Once these priorities are satisfied, FOBS will work to clear snow in the following areas:

  • Road access for transportation (such as the UConn bus lines)
  • Access to academic buildings for classes
  • Road access for waste management
  • Parking lots

Any student that deems it unsafe to travel to UConn for class even if an official delay or closing has not been issued has the right to make that decision. Faculty is expected to respect the student’s decision and allow them to make up necessary work, according to UConn’s emergency closing policy.

Emergency alerts are posted and updated as soon as they are known via UConn’s alert site, alert.uconn.edu. The university will make announcements about cancellation or delay of classes no later than 5:00 a.m., according to UConn’s emergency closing policy.

Over winter break, students with parking permits received a similar email from Parking Services regarding parking preparations in lieu of winter weather so parking lots can be easily cleared.

When heavy snow is forecasted and before snow falls, regular overnight permit holders of C-Lot and those in Charter Oak and Busby should relocate their vehicles to the Southeast end of C-Lot, while regular overnight W-Lot permit holders and those in T-Lot should relocate to the North end of W-Lot, according to the relocation maps attached in the email.

“By positioning the vehicles on one end of these lots (W or C Lot, as indicated), the more convenient sections can be quickly cleared of snow.  When cars are scattered across the lot, the plows can’t properly clear them.  As a result, lots can be a real mess for an extended period,” the email said.

When it is necessary to relocate vehicles parked in residential area lots (on campus dorms and apartments) following a winter storm, information will be communicated via email to affected permit holders. If it becomes necessary to relocate residential permit holders to garages, access will only be granted during snowfall, and regular garage fees will resume “once the snow stops falling,” according to the email.

More information about emergency plans for winter storm season can be found on Parking Services website, UConn’s Alert website and UConn’s Policy website.


Molly Stadnicki is the associate news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at molly.stadnicki@uconn.edu.