Shoveling out the details

By Meghan Power

Staff Writer

At the beginning of the school year, public safety and facilities had mentioned an idea for a new and improved plan for removing snow from student parking lots. Students would be given a specific period of time after a snow storm to move their vehicles to a different location. This would allow for snow to be plowed from the spaces quickly and efficiently. What sounded like a great new idea never took place, leaving students with misunderstandings and snow covered parking spots.

Student parking outside of Alumni Hall remains unplowed, as a students car is engulfed in icy remains of the snowfall on Feb. 17, 2020.

Although this idea is new to some, the proposed new way of removing snow is old news to Senior Associate Director of Head of Facilities Joel Ribout.

“[The plan has been discussed] basically every year that I’ve been here, which is going on five years and probably even before that,” Ribout said. “ “To my knowledge it had never been done before, we do talk about it often, and it is a very challenging thing to implement. The idea would be that we would start with the Ryan lot, which is Alliot and move all of those cars into Tarrant, plow that area, get it good and clean, then bring those cars back and start shuffling spots around,” Ribout explained.

Student clears the snow off their car outside of Cashman Hall on Feb. 28, 2020

“But, it is very challenging with kids being gone, especially on winter breaks or weekends, so it’s never been implemented,” Ribout said.

“I can understand that it’s hard to get everyone to move their car out of the spot ,” said Timothy DeCosta ‘20. “I don’t think it is a huge deal because at the end of the day it is up to the students to dig their cars out, if you have a shovel it’s not that hard to do. I think [the proposed plan] would be a good idea, it’s just how well they would be able to implement it and get people to actually move.”

Public Safety must also be involved in these decisions of how to remove the snow in a safe and effective way that poses the least risks to students. Director of Public Safety Doug Babcock supported the idea of the new plan, but also acknowledged the difficulties involved, while assuring students and staff that what is currently being done is not endangering to those involved.

“Ice is a natural concern during winter, there are some places that haven’t been fully cleaned where we have risks of slipping, but that is Vermont winters, and I don’t think we have anything in place that is out of line,”
replied Babcock.

Despite the safety of the current
snow removal tactic, students still have non-safety issues with removing the snow from their cars during the long Vermont winters.

“My biggest problem is on a heavy snow day getting my car out of my spot.” said Mariah LeVangie ’22, in an email. “Cleaning my car off can be hard, but that’s our job as car owners on campus. After the heavy storm I was late for a meeting because I couldn’t get out of my space and didn’t have a shovel in my car at the time. I think it would be a great idea for us to move our cars. The only downside is where we would move them to!” Tyler Santos ’22 has also had challenges with snow in the parking lots. “The hardest thing is my tires just get no traction because of all the ice, so I can’t pull out of my spot,” Santos said. “If facilities did anything to help with the snow in the parking lots that would be a huge help.”

While facilities has been considering this plan for many years now and ultimately decided not to do it due to many different challenges, such as having to judge if it is worth it or not for small snowfalls, or finding a way to get all cars moved (whether the owner is on campus or not), it seems at though the consensus for students is that they would all be up for the challenge and willing to cooperate, should this plan be proposed in years to come.