By Christopher Acree–
Waking up and seeing snow outside might be the only thing that connects students from preschool to pre-med besides a seething hatred of academics. Much like a kid on Christmas morning, our pupils rush to our computers or phones to see if classes are canceled for the day, freeing us up to either go outside and build snowmen or go back to bed and sleep away the day.
Unfortunately, most of the time it turns out we often still have class and are forced to schlep through the cold and snow to get to class.
This can mean different things to different students. The city and the school, for the most part, do a good job of salting and plowing the roads and even most of the sidewalks on campus, which in return allows for students who live around U of L to get to class quickly and relatively easily.
But what we’ve yet to discuss is the other kind of student, one who doesn’t live near campus, and instead inhabits the rural and suburban wastes beyond in other areas of town – the south end, the east end, maybe even in Indiana or some other county. The further you go from campus, the more difficult it remains for these U of L students to get to class.
While the city makes sure its roads are nice and salty even to the point of overkill, other neighborhoods might not be as judicious.
Senior Chris Sparks lives in Goshen, a commute that takes him 45 minutes from his home to U of L on a good day. Add a few inches of snow to commutes like Chris’, and that time doubles.
“It’s a lot more difficult to get to campus when there’s snow,” Sparks said. “Where I live there’s a lot of back roads. They’re pretty twisty and it’s harder for salt trucks to get out there.”
And if one can circumnavigate the roads well enough, there is yet another difficulty associated with snowy weather: other drivers.
People who, according to state law, are perfectly capable of driving suddenly become half-drunk bumper car enthusiasts when faced with a thin layer of slush and less friction than they’re normally accustomed to. Who among us hasn’t seen cars upside down in ditches or sticking out of roadside trees for no discernible reason?
Let’s not forget to mention that if somebody can get to the relative safety of a major highway or thoroughfare you still have to park, which is fine if you’re headed to one of the permitted university lots, but for those who try to save a little money and ditch parking passes altogether, the weather can present yet another hurdle.
Many commuters choose to park several blocks away from campus, far enough to not get parking tickets, and huff it to class on time each day. Not only do these students have to trudge through snow all the while wearing enough layers so as to not freeze to death, they also have to be on guard for other hazards, such as slippery fall-on-your-butt ice, wandering packs of polar bears and the occasional abominable snowmen.
Let’s just say it makes walking down Third Street feel like you’re in Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest film, “The Revenant.”
Senior Kevin Morgan who lives in the Clifton neighborhood would definitely agree.
“I do think we as commuters do get shafted a little bit,” Morgan said. “I don’t think they take our travel scenario into consideration. There are a lot of people who have to travel 20 or 30 minutes to get to campus, so it has to be difficult for them.”
Traveling in such conditions can easily make students feel like whoever decides about whether classes or not classes are canceled, have hearts as cold as the weather outside.