What turned the lights out?

Catherine Hamilton

Last week, on March 11, the University experienced a power outage. South Campus, Main Campus and West Campus were affected by the outage.

As many people suspected, the disablement happened as a result of the mounds of snow melting into the ground. 

Robert Morro, the Vice President for Facilities Management confirmed the students’ speculations about the outage.

“A high voltage cable from the main substation to South campus failed, probably caused by water from the snow melt getting into underground duct banks,” Morro said. “About half the campus lost power. Once we isolated the fault, we were able to route the power on alternate paths. Now we are working to pinpoint the bad section of cable and replace it.”

During the outage, much confusion ensued, since no one realized the extent or cause of the power outage. The entire South Campus, including Donahue Hall (the Spit) shut down. 

“The power outage wreaked havoc on South Campus. Everyone was looking for someplace to eat and do work so lots of people went to main campus not knowing the power was out there too,” freshman and Spit employee Chris Ambrogio said.

Besides shutting lights off, the power outage resulted in the loss of Wi-fi and disabled Wildcards. Students were unable to do their homework on the Internet or swipe into their dorm buildings.

Fortunately, the power came back on about 15 minutes before sunset. The loss of power threatened to cause even more issues after the sun went down. In a hypothetical situation, officials would have forced students to evacuate various buildings. In addition, all events planned for the evening would have been either canceled of rescheduled. 

The Irish Dance Team felt the threats of power outage. It scheduled its annual showcase March 11 at 7 p.m. and the power did not return until around 6:40. The team lucked out and they only needed to delay their show for 15 minutes in order to prepare and make up for the loss of time. 

Now that the first day of spring is this week, the school will not need to worry about water seeping into the electrical system and shutting down the school.