Storm Causes A Peculiar Start To New Year

A fallen tree weighs down a power line, bringing it to the ground. The tree is laying in the middle of the street in the foreground, with trees and houses in the background.
A fallen tree weighs down a telephone line on Pine Street. A thunderstorm tore through Albion, leaving damage across the city. (Photo by Liam Rappleye)

The first day of classes had been wrapping up by 5:15 p.m. on Monday when a thunderstorm rolled through Albion and caused the power to go out. Most buildings on campus went dark, but the Science Complex and Baldwin Dining Hall kept the lights on since they were powered by backup generators.

Internet connectivity was only available in a few of the buildings that had been able to maintain emergency power. Most outlets weren’t providing the electricity needed to power electronic devices. To this end, Campus Safety officials set up a charging station to provide a place for students to charge their devices. 

The power outage displaced a number of students, many of whom took residence in the Science Complex, one of the few buildings with power.  The ground floor had students resting in couches, bundled up in blankets and pillows. They had air conditioning and an internet connection. 

By the time morning came, campus offices had been closed and classes had been canceled through noon via an email and text message sent out by the college on Tuesday morning. Many students left campus for a majority of the day, the reasons varying amongst the exodus. 

“We decided to go to Lansing, or any place that had power really,” said Ivan Molina, Houston, Texas junior. Molina lives in Texas, but grew up in Maracaibo, Venezuela. “I felt stressed. I come from a country that deals with this daily, and it didn’t feel good to have to go through that again,” he said when explaining what he was thinking during the outage.

 By Tuesday afternoon, the college had sent out a message announcing that campus offices would remain closed and classes for the remainder of the week would be cancelled. Paired with this message, the college encouraged students who where able to go home to do so. Those students who were unable to go home would have to stay on campus and wait out the power outage. According to Consumers Energy, Albion College’s power provider, the power wasn’t expected to return until Friday, Sept. 2. 

“It’s a good amount of money to take a plane back and forth on really short notice,” said Alger Reynada, Seneca, SC. sophomore. “I can’t just leave. I’m 13 hours away by car. It wasn’t worth it,” he said.

Despite the predictions of the energy providers, the power came back on at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday, long after many students had returned home. It wouldn’t be until morning when students were informed that classes would be moving to a hybrid or online-only platform for Thursday. This was done to allow students who had gone home to be able to attend classes wherever they were.  

The power held steady in the following days. Internet access returned across campus, facilitating the return of classes. On Thursday and Friday, classes were either online or a hybrid of in-person and online attendance, depending on the decision of a professor.

About Juan Rodriguez 15 Articles
Juan G. Rodriguez is a junior hailing from Dallas, Texas. He is double majoring in English and Political Science. As an individual with two pencil leads in his left knee, writing seems to be the only career that Juan is capable of.

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