With these past three storms in three weeks, this winter started strong with how it affected Stony Brook and its students. Last year, I wrote about how in the wake of 2015’s blizzards, the snow clearance was unsatisfactory and left the campus riddled with ice, snow patches and a frosty froth of mobility troubles, especially for disabled students. This year, however, I’m happy to say, with an abundance of caution, that isn’t the case.
In stark contrast to the 2015 spring semester, snow clearance following the storms has quite noticeably improved. Areas that would be difficult to traverse for days following storms last year are accessible almost immediately.
My last article on snow clearance came out in mid-March, so take what I say with a grain of salt — something I still think we could see more of on the roads and sidewalks, because there is plenty of time for another blizzard to hit the campus and kill the university’s 3-0 record. But much like our basketball team, they’re still going strong. Who wants to see that end? Certainly not me. I commend the university administration for their snow clearance this year.
Last year, I was embittered by the fact that the snow clearance had left the vast majority of students able to move around but left me stranded. This year, I’ve noticed particular attention to sidewalk curb cuts in the cleaning effort.
In just a matter of hours following the peak snowfall of each storm, the areas immediately surrounding my dorm were more or less completely accessible. A few hours after that I was comfortable going anywhere on campus. It inspires a lot of confidence in me that the university administration learned from their mistakes last year and will likely get even better at dealing with weather related incidents.
So even with the successes of this semester, what could be done better? For one thing, communication and outreach from both sides. Consider a separate system within FIXIT for clearance-related work orders that goes live during the aftermath of every winter storm and allows students to tell the administration which areas on campus need to see more focus in real-time.
Ice removal on sidewalks and paths around residential areas could be better. Even though the main areas of campus are usually ice free, more salt around the residence halls and dining halls would go a long way to improve general campus safety.
I could go to sleep soundly last night even though there was a snow flurry, something that last year would have resigned me to imminent cabin fever and catch-up work. Confidence like that goes a long way for any student. I’d like to think campus media has had a part in this change and to those reading now who had a hand in this change, thanks. If things continue as they are now, there is a chance that the snow won’t be an issue for disabled students on campus at all in the future, and that’s pretty impressive.