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Wintry weather hits RIT…and Facebook! Miscellaneous

At RIT, the ‘snow day’ has reached an almost mythical status. Generations of students come and go, with many never receiving a single day off because of bad weather, despite Rochester’s notoriously brutal offerings of ice and snow. In fact, the last time RIT cancelled an entire day of classes was Jan. 15, 1999—exactly eight years prior to Monday’s closing, because of icy conditions.

In just two days since the campus was closed, nearly 2,000 students have joined one or more of the nine different Facebook groups related to the rare occurrence, posing the question, if an event happens and no related Facebook groups are created, was the event actually important? The obvious answer—of course it was important, but it’s just fun to make or join groups that reflect your online persona.

So, without further adieu, here’s a sample of RIT’s “Ice Day” groups…

“I was there when RIT froze over” is the largest group, boasting over 1,000 members, and features dozens of locations on campus, iced over by Monday’s wintry blast. The group’s large photo album encouraged others to begin an offshoot, aptly titled, “Sick of seeing all the same pictures of ice, just from different angles”

A few unfortunate students, utilizing RIT’s technology this quarter through a real-time online class, still had a class session despite classes being cancelled. Naturally, this prompted the creation of “Online Class on a Snow Day!?!?!”—a place for students to gripe about the ‘injustice’ of having a virtual class while peers were excused from venturing to classrooms out of fear for their safety.

Finally, members of the groups, “The day RIT closed on a holiday” and “It’s the warmest winter, yet RIT is closed!” ponder the incredible chain of events and inclement weather that caused RIT to close on a day many other schools already had off, not to mention that this happened during one of the warmest winters ever.

  1. Ralph Whitbeck
    Jan 17

    In my day we would have to walk a quarter mile through 10 feet of snow and 100 mile an hour winds to get to class.

  2. Mike Saffran
    Jan 17

    Great post about this rare and memorable event, Brandon :-) I hadn’t realized that the most recent weather-related cancellation of classes dated as far back as January 1999 (though I remember that blizzard). Prior to Monday, the most recent weather-related closure of the institute was in March 2001, but that was during spring-break week. RIT also shut down the day after the Northeast blackout of August 2003, but that was in summertime.

    Your reference to the poor, unfortunate online-class students whose sessions weren’t cancelled recalls something a professor once told me about higher education: No place else can you give ‘customers’ (students) less than they’re paying for (through cancelled classes or early dismissal) and it makes them happy!

    Finally, a mea culpa: I was all set to mock my colleague John Follaco for calling me at home on Sunday night asking about the potential of RIT closing on Monday.

    “John,” I replied, “the chance is zero percent. It would take an ice storm the magnitude of the 1991 ice storm for RIT to close.”

    That said, I believe it was a good decision on the part of the administration to close, for I’m sure student and employee safety was paramount in the decision (plus, much of the rest of the world was already closed for the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day). But, savor it—the next one might be another eight years away!

  3. Brandon Borgna
    Jan 18

    Haha, thanks for the comment, Ralph. Unfortunately, to many students, 10 ft. of snow and 100 mph winds may not seem like much of an exaggeration. Though it certainly is comical to watch, I always feel bad when I see a 90 lb. female art student, doing all she can to hold on to her large portfolio (which is acting like a sail) as the wind whips her all over the quarter-mile.

  4. Ralph Whitbeck
    Jan 18

    Seriously with all the improvements that RIT has done since I graduated you'd think they would of built that tunnel from the Dorms to the schools by now...I think that was the most requested feature heard on the quarter mile.

  5. Silandara
    Jan 18

    Brandon - glad Mike got in there with the comment about RIT closing in March 2001. I'd just started in late February and enjoyed the excitement of the university closing while being repeatedly assured it was "an unheard of event." I was on my honeymoon in Cape Cod for the blackout (Massachusetts still had power) and we only knew about it because we saw it on the TV news. Ah, the memories.

  6. John Follaco
    Jan 18

    I'd love to hear some of the things RIT students did with their "free time" on Monday. I would imagine sleep would be a popular response, but I bet there were some fun and creative things happening as well. If anyone out there knows of any, feel free to post them.

    I, for one, went out and purchased a home theatre recliner for my living room. I'll be watching the rest of the NFL playoffs in style!

  7. Cory
    Jan 21

    Hey Ralph,
    My school was the same way, except it was uphill both ways.

  8. Ralph Whitbeck
    Jan 24

    Cory was it Alfred State? I think they literally have a hill on both sides.

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