By the Gatepost Editorial Board
Because we live in New England, clearing away snow is a part of everyone’s life.
So why is it such a challenging part of the resident student’s experience?
A nor’easter came and went this past weekend. Resident students were informed of a parking ban beforehand to allow Facilities to plow, shovel, and salt the University’s paths, roads, and parking lots.
All of this was done in a thorough and timely manner. We thank Facilities for their diligent work during the worst of weather.
Students did their part to help with the snow cleanup by moving their cars to designated lots. Clearing out certain parking lots allows Facilities staff to efficiently plow the snow without worrying about sideswiping students’ sedans.
However, there’s one part of the snow removal process that’s being neglected by our campus
After large storms pass, students looking for their cars in the designated parking lots must distinguish one mound of snow from another.
Once they determine which mountain of snow their car is buried beneath, students have to trudge through the drifts between cars and hope they can open their doors wide enough to get in.
There isn’t much space between parked cars to begin with, and that space fills with door-stopping snow when it gets plowed in.
Our peers have told stories about digging their cars out with nothing but their bare hands because they didn’t have the right tools.
Furthermore, banks of snow form along the edges of parking lot aisles from plows circulating to keep them clear. Even if students clear oG their cars, it’s sometimes difficult to drive over the frozen banks without getting stuck.
These difficulties confirm that “a shovel” belongs on everyone’s college essentials list.
How can we better equip our campus residential community to dig out their cars after the storm?
One solution FSU should implement to alleviate our snow day struggles is supplying shovels for students to borrow.
Students could sign out shovels from Facilities, FSUPD, or Residence Life, just as they can sign out carts from their residence halls on move-in days.
If students could borrow shovels, they would be able to dig out their cars and move them back to their assigned parking lots much faster than is happening now.
Even students who didn’t need to move their cars for the snow emergency will beneLt from easily accessible shovels because they need to dig out their cars, too. Even if they don’t need to move their cars immediately, they will be able to check out a shovel when they do decide to leave.
Keeping a supply of shovels is more than a convenience. Students may have their own snow brushes in their cars, but those are of no use if they can’t get to their car doors.
We also need to establish an on-call volunteer group of students to help shovel out cars, similar to the teams formed on move-in days.
Forming a snow-clearing group could be especially helpful for students who may not be physically able to shovel snow themselves.
Snow clearing could even be a community-building event. With incentives such as hot chocolate and pizza for their efforts, a snow-shoveling event would unite students from across campus to help their peers dig out their wheels.
Both loaner shovels and a snow-clearing group would help the FSU community respond more quickly and effectively to snow storms.
Giving students shovels makes it easier for Facilities to clean up the parking lots. Students will be able to move their cars to freshly cleared lots and allow staG to finish clearing the snow sooner.
Ice scrapers and snow brushes should also be made available for students. It’s dangerous to drive with an icy windshield and illegal to drive without removing snow from the roof of a vehicle.
The University hands out branded merchandise to new students every year, including frisbees and drawstring bags. New Student and Family Programs should give out Black and Gold ice scrapers to prepare students for winter and promote the University.
Other colleges have community-building days during which they all climb a mountain together.
Framingham State residents face their own kind of mountain – a mountain of snow that needs to be shoveled.
Let’s make moving this mountain easier.