Maintaining safe travel conditions for students is a top priority | The Triangle

Maintaining safe travel conditions for students is a top priority

We’ve all seen that this winter has been particularly brutal. We’ve had multiple snowstorms of varying intensities — and inevitably, some students love the wintry weather and some hate it. Our school is known for two things: having a large commuter population and having a particularly stubborn administration that hardly ever cancels classes due to snow. This year, though, the administration is disproving the legend, and we’ve had three days where regular University operations were suspended for some time during the day. Some Drexel students have been taking advantage of this unanticipated free time to go sledding at the art museum (a city favorite), build snowmen (which may or may not coincide with a recent obsession with Disney’s “Frozen”) or participate in snowball fights (a perfect way to relive some midterm stress). We would like to express our appreciation to the University administration and facilities department for considering our safety during these potentially treacherous conditions.

Our three snow days this term (whether the University was shut down for an hour or all day) show that the administration is considering our large commuter population. This goes beyond students — many faculty and staff members either drive or rely on public transportation to get to campus. It’s not just a matter of getting here in the morning in time for class or work, but the administration also seems to be considering their needs to get home at the end of the day. Cancelled classes and University operations mean that our commuters (students and otherwise) don’t need to stress about navigating public transportation or icy road conditions in the middle of a storm. Priorities seem to be in order when we realize that it’s not worth putting yourself in a seriously dangerous situation just for a class or two.

One frustration that remains, however, is in regard to the Drexel shuttle services. When the University officially closed at 4 p.m. Feb. 3, the shuttles stopped running at the same time. That meant that students were expected to be on campus for classes that afternoon, and if they were in class until 3:50 p.m. they wouldn’t have had a way to get home. Sure, SEPTA and walking are both viable options, but it doesn’t make sense for the University to provide certain services sometimes and then shut them down when there were presumably students relying on them. Stopping shuttle services at 4 p.m. also disregards many students on co-op working in Center City, many of whom take the shuttle to and from work. Because co-op employers don’t necessarily close when Drexel closes, there were students who may not have had a backup plan for transportation back to campus.

We particularly want to thank University Facilities, which has been out in full force during the storms to keep campus walkways clear. We understand that these are men and women who are traveling to campus from wherever their homes may be in the middle of dangerous conditions that cause classes to be canceled. They deal with the worst of the wintry conditions so that students, faculty, and the rest of the Drexel community can get around campus with relative ease. When we just want to spend our unexpected free time staying warm inside or reconnecting with our inner children by playing in the snow, there is a whole team of people who continue to work to keep Drexel safe and accessible. And for that, we are thankful.