Blizzard impedes events, spurs others



Greg Doyle

Despite the blanket of snow that covered Villanova’s campus and put a damper on this weekend’s scheduled events, the University used its ability to adjust at the last minute and make the most of the situations at hand.

 What began as a weekend laden with canceled events ended in possibly the largest snowball fight the University has ever witnessed.

On Thursday, Feb. 4, Early Action Candidates’ Day Weekend was canceled due to the impending snow storm. 

The announcement was posted on the University’s Web site, and student leaders on campus relayed the message to their respective organizations. 

Despite the event being a fundamental opportunity for prospective students to visit the campus, the University believed their safety would be put at risk by trying to travel in the snowy conditions.

“The University actually began thinking about how the weather might impact the weekend an entire week before the event,” Senior Assistant Director of University Admission Erin Buckley said. “Since families travel from all over the country to come to campus for the weekend, senior staff members in the Office of University Admission began thinking about a contingency plan early enough so there was ample time to notify all of the accepted students before they began their travels to campus. We sent out an alert via e-mail to all of the candidates on Wednesday informing them of the possibility of a cancellation, while the official decision to cancel the weekend was made first thing on Thursday morning.” 

Despite the cancellation, the University maintained the personal outreach that makes Candidates’ Day unique and appealing. 

 “All of the approximately 700 families who had registered to attend were then e-mailed and also personally called by members of the Blue Key Society, Villanova Ambassadors and admissions staff with the news of the cancellation,” said Nick Tumolo, Candidates’ Day student chair. “An update was also posted on the Web site. The decision was a collective one made by those in the Office of University Admission, the Facilities department and others who play a key role in the event. Of course, everyone’s number one reason for the cancellation of EACD was for the safety of the accepted students and their families and the members of our University community.”

Dozens of organizations planned to set up tables throughout the weekend to promote their events to prospective students and showcase what a staple student involvement is on campus. 

“Candidates’ Day is, of course, an extremely important event where hundreds of accepted students get to see all of the great things Villanova has to offer,” Tumolo said. “Because the cancellation of the weekend could drastically affect enrollment, we are working on the logistics to reschedule the entire event.”

Early Action Candidates’ Day Weekend has been rescheduled for March 12-13.

The University is sustaining the fervor that surrounds this event by keeping both the prospective and current students engaged between now and the rescheduled date.

“We are mailing all of the accepted students all of the information they would have received over the weekend, in addition to a postcard of sorts that will have pictures showing just how bad the weather was over the weekend,” Tumolo said. “We actually had a photo contest for Blue Key and Ambassador members to get some good shots for the postcard, and we got some great pictures of students out in their Candidates’ Day T-shirts playing in the snow.”

Unlike those intending to attend Candidates’ Day, those involved in last weekend’s RA interviews all live on campus or within a few miles of the school. Still, conditions were threatening enough to cause potential problems.

“Our main reason for postponing [RA interviews] was out of concern for the safety of our staff and candidates,” said Jennifer Derry, assistant director for staff training and development. “Several of our candidates live off campus, as do half of the professional staff conducting the interviews, and I felt very uncomfortable having anyone put themselves in danger over these interviews.   We debated many possibilities for how to move interviews and decided that moving them to Sunday was our best option.”

The second half of interviews for prospective RAs was then scheduled to be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, was delayed until the next day.

“We decided to postpone the interviews Friday morning when we saw that the weekend weather report’s forecast indicated that the chance of snow was at 100 percent,” Derry said. “You rarely see that kind of certainty in a forecast, so that’s when we knew it was time to postpone interviews.”

Everyone involved with the interviews proved to be adaptable, helping make the last-minute rescheduling seamless.

“All things considered, the interviews went very well,” Derry said. “Almost all of the candidates were able to participate on Sunday, and we have made alternative arrangements for those who were not. I am also very grateful to all the Residence Life staff members who were so flexible with the many changes we had to make.”

And while University administration saw the snow as a deterrent to the scheduled events, a flurry of excitement fell upon the students, who warmly welcomed the blizzard.

Junior Melissa Kennedy saw opportunities with the heavy snowfall and initiated a West Campus snowball fight at midnight on Saturday.After hearing that the students of Loyola College of Maryland were encouraged by their president to hold a campus-wide snowball fight, Kennedy opted to follow suit.

“Rather than sitting here jealous, I decided to make one happen at Villanova,” Kennedy said. “I consulted my roommates and they all thought people would love it, so I sent a text out saying ‘Midnight tonight. West-wide snowball fight. Left side vs. right side. Text this to everyone you know,’ and sure enough, they did.”

To Kennedy’s pleasure, the turnout for the snowball fight was overwhelmingly positive. Hundreds of students flocked to West Campus to engage in the snowy warfare.

 “I think at the end of the day, Villanova students knew it would be a good time –– something to remember for a lifetime,” Kennedy said. “Being on what should have been Early Action Candidates’ Day, I think it really shows those potential students that the Villanova student body knows how to be spontaneous and make the most out of any situation.”