Assistant Sports Editor
Going to school five minutes south of Lake Erie has it perks for sure. The water is beautiful in the summer and there are plenty of beaches to play and lay on. In the winter, though, these perks turn into problems.
Winter means snow, and a main problem with being close to Lake Erie is lake effect snow. Every year our campus is hit with a ton of lake effect snow and ice that impacts the whole county. Snow piles up and there’s always a lot to plow and melt after a typical snowstorm.
In my four years of going to school here, and my three years of living on campus, I’ve learned that Fredonia needs to do a much better job of cleaning up the snow on the sidewalks and the streets.
I’m not here to bash the workers or throw dirt on their names, because I understand they work hard to keep the campus safe for students and faculty. But for the past few years, the sidewalks have been hard to walk on.
After it snows, Fredonia usually has plows out that push the snow to the grass to clear pathways, but the lack of salt has made these walkways turn into “iceways.” Students and faculty end up having to walk a little slower so they can avoid falling and hurting themselves.
The amount of people working to plow the snow isn’t high and this causes all the snow to just pile up at first until a plow comes through on campus to clear the roads. Many times, certain places on campus are closed off or not plowed and students are left to make a detour because of it.
The plows ideally should work, but normally they just end up kicking up all the dirt from the grass and making the walkway a mix of snow, mud and dirt which makes the campus look tacky.
When salt actually is used, it’s a mix of salt and sand that doesn’t always do the job of clearing the snow. This just melts some of the snow and leaves the rest to turn into “black ice” at night when the temperature freezes over. The worst part about black ice is that it’s hard to recognize, making it dangerous.
One of my friends explained to me that she slipped and fell outside of the Science Center last week because of black ice. Though the injury was only a abrasion, having spots on campus that are layered in ice isn’t good. I’ve witnessed multiple falls this winter the day after snow falls, and I always wonder when it will be safer to walk on campus.
As I said before, the lack of the use of salt on campus is a major issue. Walking from the Williams Center to McEwen shouldn’t be a hassle, and I believe we pay too much money for our campus to be so dangerous in the winter months.
When it comes to salting or plowing the snow, both methods in Fredonia really could use some work. Avoiding the re-evaluation of these services is causing safety problems after the temperature goes below freezing.
Another issue Fredonia has when snow falls is clearing the parking lots. After snowfall, the parking lots become a wasteland for all the excess snow that is plowed from the sidewalks.
Parking spots are already limited, and when the workers don’t properly clear the snow, students can’t see the lines for parking. This leads to horrible parking jobs and less space for people to park their cars. My roommate drives to class and everytime I come along in the winter, we always have to leave early. You can guarantee that a few spots will be used for snow, the parking lots will be filled with unevenly parked cars and you will have to look hard for an open spot.
There’s a lot of negative in this but to fix it, there are a few solutions that could work.
One solution could be more workers shoveling the snow manually. Machines and plows are easier to use and work faster but it doesn’t mean it’ll get the job done better. The residents of Fredonia do a great job of getting rid of the snow from their sidewalks and making the sidewalks walkable.
The second solution is to take all the snow and put it in a location where people don’t have to travel through or across. Places like Three Man Hill, the rugby field and the field behind the Science Center are great places to be used as snow fields instead of outside of department buildings and parking lots.
The final solution is: use salt on the ice! We pay a lot of money to attend this school and I feel like we can afford salt to deal with our snow problem. As a SUNY school located five miles off of Lake Erie, you would think we would be better prepared for snow storms.
Our money is going somewhere and it’s hard to sell me on the idea that Fredonia doesn’t have enough money to purchase enough salt to deal with the weather. Salt makes the sidewalks look bad after the snow melts, but our main priority should probably be melting the snow.
I thought the lack of plowing the snow my freshman year was a result of the big snowstorm of Nov. 2014, but as the years went on, I see that this is a recurring theme.
Hopefully this will open someone’s eyes in Maytum to the reality of what goes on during the winter. I hope the necessary changes are made next year because it’s not safe and not good for the school to not be fully prepared for snow when we’re located within biking distance of the lake.