Lehigh University has received close to 67 inches of snowfall this winter – more than any other winter since most Lehigh students were born. The winter of 1993-94 still holds the record for total snowfall at 75.2 inches, according to records kept since 1922 by the Lehigh Valley International Airport. (And spring is still several weeks away.)
As a result, Lehigh has canceled classes on three separate days, had several late starts and one mid-day class cancellation when a sudden ice storm rendered the hilly campus too treacherous for pedestrian travel.
The decisions to alter the class schedules lie with Provost Pat Farrell, who stresses that his first priority is the safety of students, faculty and staff. No stranger to heavy snowfalls, the former Wisconsinite considers the assessment of the Facilities Services staff, who evaluate safety and snow removal considerations.
When it snows, a crew - now armed with a powerful, tank-like snow removal machine - springs into action to clear the sidewalks and roadways, send communications to the Lehigh community and ensure students are well-cared for.
Their efforts have been noticed and appreciated by students, who frequently commented on social media. Ryan Spirko, ’16, took the effort to write a letter to the editor of the Brown and White to commend those who keep the university running smoothly, despite considerable weather challenges.
“Thank you for continuing to make Lehigh University one of the most beautiful campuses in the country!” –Ryan Spirko, ‘16
Here’s a brief look at snow days at Lehigh, by the numbers:
66.7 inches: The total amount of snow that has fallen on Lehigh’s campus this winter.
3: The total number of Lehigh snow days this winter.
3 a.m.: The hour when Richard Benner, assistant director of projects for Facilities Services and Campus planning, walks around campus to assess the condition of roadways and walkways between residence halls, dining halls and academic buildings.
250: The number of community members who work to clear snow from campus walkways. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to open,” says Facilities Services director Gary Falasca.
4: The number of hotel rooms reserved by Lehigh’s Dining Services to help ensure essential staff could be on campus to open dining halls after more than a foot of snow fell in South Bethlehem.
132,132: The number of LU Alert text messages that were sent this winter regarding snow delays and closings. Be sure you are signed up for LU Alert, Lehigh’s emergency message notification system.
1,500 tons: The approximate amount of salt that has been spread on Lehigh roadways this winter.
7: The number of times the lacrosse field on Goodman Campus has been cleared of snow for practices and games.
10: The number of additional days given to high school students to apply regular decision to Lehigh, after the application deadline was extended to Jan. 10 as a result of winter weather delays across the country
Story by Sally Gilotti
Posted on Friday, February 21, 2014