By Yera Nanan, Avery Robinson, Fatima Gomez, and Graciela Ramirez
A day off from college courses is typically a day well received, but not when it involves dangerous winds and power outages.
This quarter campus was shut down for a total of five days due to high wind alerts and power shut down by Southern California Edison for preventing wildfires.
This campus is no stranger to high winds and potential fire scares, but what is new is the authority that Southern California Edison has to shut down electricity if need be.
Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management, Jennifer Sorenson, is one of the first recipients to the news of a power outage from Edison.
“We have to make sure that we are providing emergency power to areas like animal care facilities and research…things that can’t go down,” said Sorenson.
Facilities Planning and Management work non-stop in these situations from the time the outage starts to put the campus back together when things go back online.
“We have to pay all the staff that get sent home for a closure…it’s extremely expensive for the campus to close in this situation,” expressed Sorenson.
Dr. Douglas Freer, Vice President for Administration and Finance, has in been constant communication with Edison to make the best decisions for the campus going forward.
“We rely on the information coming from Southern California Edison…we have to just roll with the punches if we don’t get the notice,” Dr. Freer said.
The National Weather Service also plays a major role in the decision to close campus as the presidential cabinet has to convene and discuss the fate of the campus for situations like this.
“These issues around pre-planned power outages are a new phenomenon this year by the major power companies…this program hasn’t existed in the past,” mentioned Dr. Freer.
With this new program being implemented, the campus has experienced five closures in total, making the month of October an interesting one for many students.
“I have been studying more and catching up on homework,” said commuter student Ashley Roche who resides in Riverside and has been using her time to be more productive.
Most of the students enrolled in this institution hail from San Bernardino and Riverside county making this a predominate commuter student campus.
[su_quote cite= “Ashley Roche”] I’ve been saving money on gas since I don’t have to drive here…It’s been nice[/su_quote]
The students are always the top priority for this campus as different departments and administrators have been working around the clock to ensure student safety.
Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Paz Oliverez, commends students on their resilience through all of the closures but is still adamant in regards to communication.
“Check your email, check your social media…we’re trying to get better at sending text messages and getting information out to people in a variety of different ways,” said Dr. Oliverez.
The Office of Student Affairs has been very proactive in trying to help students while also making sure their office is in stable condition to expend resources.
“Student Affairs is one of those areas where we will usually stay…just in case someone calls the office or steps into the office that there is someone available”, said Dr. Oliverez.
This office also played an integral role in the housing situation, where students who dorm on campus were without power for the shut down on Oct. 30 and 31.
“We had a few hundred students that stayed in housing…the staff had to stay on the job the entire time because all of the buildings and rooms have electronic access”, explained Dr. Oliverez.
With some students being locked out of their dorms from no electricity, another additive to the situation were students utilizing Basic Needs resources.
Dr. Oliverez along with the CARE Team took a proactive approach in reaching out to students and faculty who were affected by evacuations during the fire.
“If anyone did need emergency housing or had any other types of needs, we could be proactive about addressing those needs”, expressed Dr. Oliverez.
Though many resources and aid were available through the campus, Women’s Track & Field member, Maya Price, has found nothing favorable about this campus closures.
“Within my teammates, we’re not happy because it’s taking away from class time…as well as athletes practice times are getting canceled so that’s less time to get better,” Price said.
With Price originally being from the Bay Area and having no car to get around, she has to live in Arrowhead Village so she can attend this University.
Nov. 10th, 2:00 p.m. (26 Participants)
Nov. 10th, 2:53 p.m. (50 participants)
Nov. 10th, 2:04 p.m. (25 participants)
“If the power goes out because campus is closed, I really can’t go anywhere and there’s nothing quick nor fast for me to get to”, expressed Maya Price of the Women’s Track & Field.