The current accumulation of snow this winter in Stony Brook is 54 inches. With parking problems, safety hazards and less money to cover snow removal, students and faculty said the colossal amount of snow has made life at Stony Brook difficult, to say the least.

On January 31, 10,000 students were scheduled to move back to campus to begin the spring semester.  With no Welcome Wagon or resident assistants to help students move back into their dorm rooms, students and families hauled their luggage over snow banks. “They did a really horrible job,” said Caryne Litcher, AMS and biology major. Although major pathways within the quads were clear of snow and ice, many students were unaware of that, and instead hauled their supplies via the most direct route anyway.

Campus Residences Operations and Campus Operations and Maintenance are responsible for clearing the snow, with the help of an outside contract with Terranova Landscaping. Campus Residences is responsible for clearing the quads and parking lots, while Campus Operations is responsible for the roadways and the academic mall.

Normally, major roadways and pathways are first to be cleared. But after the January 28 storm, three days before move-in day, the main priorities were clearing the parking lots and major walkways. “Every main route was plowed,” John Sparano, the director of Campus Residences Operations, said. “No one should have had to lug their luggage over snow or be walking in the street.”

Rewind four weeks to intersession when hundreds of students were taking classes and living on campus: during that time, New York was hit with six snowstorms.  Campus Residences Operations and Campus Operations and Maintenance both failed to clear fire hydrants and blue light systems of snow on the active campus.

“The university should set an example in this fire district to more commercial needs,” said Paul Degen, Brookhaven task force and fire commissioner. Degen said the Stony Brook Fire Department has had issues with the university not clearing fire hydrants in the past, but would not give further insight.

Business and residence owners with fire hydrants located on their property are advised to clear it of snow within 48 hours. The campus priority of clearing snow is as follows: main road and pathways, building exits, pathways in quads and parking lots, fire hydrants, blue lights, curb cuts and bus stops.

“It makes things complicated,” Degen said. “When we make a call, and there is snow covering the fire hydrants, we have maps of the locations, but we are only guessing where they are exactly. We would like them to work on this.”

Sparano said he believed the fire hydrants and blue light systems were cleared of snow after every storm during winter session. Pictures and student accounts are proof the snow was not cleared from fire hydrants and blue light systems during intersession. Terence Harrigan, executive director of Campus Operations and Maintenance, had no explanation for the snow not being cleared on January 31. Oddly enough, the day after Campus Operations and Maintenance were called for comment on this issue, the fire hydrants and blue lights were cleared of snow.


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