FORUM Vol. 43, No. 11 February 11, 2019
Campuses close for record 5 days
Grand Valley staff members worked around the clock to remove snow and keep buildings warm after heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures led to the closing of campuses for five consecutive days.
The Grand Valley Police Department, Campus Dining, Housing and Residence Life, Facilities Services, Campus Recreation, and Transportation Services were some of the departments that remained open during the last week of January as most students stayed on campus.
Tim Thimmesch, associate vice president for Facilities Services, said most of his 120-member staff made it to work each day, ready to do their jobs in wind chills that reached 22 degrees below zero.
"The weather caused the most challenging conditions I've experienced in my 24 years here at Grand Valley; it's been all hands on deck," said Thimmesch. "Our crews plowed and shoveled snow, checked pipes and vents, cleared gas meters and walked each building 24/7 to make sure everything was working properly."
Thimmesch said some frozen pipes and water lines were repaired and university boilers ran at maximum all week to keep buildings warm and at a constant temperature.
Members from Facilities Services and GVPD helped students dig out February 1, shoveling more than 2 feet of snow off their vehicles.
Andy Beachnau, associate vice provost for Student Affairs and director of Housing and Health Services, said 30 staff members and 115 resident assistants helped students pass the time with a movie night, craft night, karaoke night, zumba, yoga and even igloo building.
"Students made the most of this time, getting to know one another," said Beachnau. "One staff member said it was been enriching to see students developing community and having fun."
Members of GVPD help students on the Allendale Campus remove snow from their cars.
Although Grand Valley’s annual Presidents’ Ball event was canceled due to weather, the more than 500 hot meals that were pre-prepared for the event didn’t go to waste.
Thanks to special efforts undertaken by Grand Valley staff and catering staff, the prepared meals were distributed to families and children in Grand Rapids. Grand Valley served meals at the David D. Hunting YMCA, Godfrey Lee Public Schools and the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.
“Even though we weren't able to have the night we were expecting, someone else was able to enjoy an awesome meal and that makes me really proud,” said Student Senate President Rachel Jenkin.