The University of Connecticut will be opening all campus residence halls on Saturday, Jan. 19th beginning at 9 a.m. due to the snow and ice forecast for Sunday, according to an email sent to students early Thursday afternoon by Dean of Students Eleanor J.B. Daugherty.
“One thing that we can all agree is not exciting is New England’s notoriously unpredictable winter weather, which has threatened to complicate move-in schedules at Storrs and Stamford,” the email said. “To help ensure your safety and that of the campuses as a whole, the University is changing those schedules in light of the forecast for snow and sleet this weekend.”
Though move-in for the residence hall was slated for Sunday, the early so students can avoid the upcoming storm. The email said it would be ideal for students to either select Saturday or Monday to move back in given that the worst of the predicted conditions will occur during the day on Sunday.
“For those whose schedules cannot be changed and must move in Sunday, please drive very carefully and be particularly watchful for pedestrians, plows and other equipment that UConn will be deploying to address the snow and ice,” the email said.
UConn student Grace Brangwynne created a change.org petition on Wednesday to encourage Residential Life to open the residence halls early for students for the spring semester. The petition reached a total of 1,091 signatures within 24 hours.
Brangwynne said she received a response from Residential Life after emailing the appeal to them on Thursday morning, citing the wide range of student concerns.
“In my opinion, it’s best for UConn to open the dorms early to accommodate out-of-state travelers,” Brangwynne said. “Additionally, there are some disabled students who would benefit from moving in on Saturday instead of Sunday due to bad weather conditions that could increase the chance of injury.”
University spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said the petition had little bearing on the decision to open the residence halls early, given that the change had already been under consideration for a number of days.
“Although we were already having these conversations before receiving the petition, we have the same concerns about Sunday’s potential weather problems as those expressed by many of the people who signed it,” Reitz said.
Dining halls will not be open until noon on Sunday, so students must make necessary accommodations if they choose to move in on Saturday, according to the email.
“Plan to bring food or make other arrangements for meals before then,” the email said.
Brangwynne said she has other suggestions to help make food more accessible for students on Saturday, although the chances of any changes are slim.
“Maybe the university can open the student union or the Grab N Gos for the sake of practicality,” Brangwynne said.
Adrienne Bruce, a first-semester exploratory student, said she thinks the move is beneficial for both the university and the students coming back to campus.
“It’ll be less trouble on the road,” Bruce said. “Having a friend that is wheelchair-bound, it can really help them too.”
Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.