On Friday, September 22 at approximately 8:14 a.m., electrical power at St. Cloud State University and other parts of St. Cloud had failed. Xcel Energy, the local electric company, had shared exactly what went wrong that morning.
“The failure was due to the splice of a wire,” stated a repair representative from the company.
“That one wire and overall equipment failure had caused 1,900 customers of Xcel Energy to lose power.”
Even though the incident did not last long – an hour and a half to be exact – it still caused some serious effects that occurred on campus.
Staff at the Department of Residential Life were quick to act, making sure all of the residential halls were as functional as possible. Action by staff in each hall was taking place the moment the lights started to flicker on and off. Hall Directors and Community Advisors had reported immediately to their front desks to make out-of-order signs for the elevators, answer questions from the residents and maintain the peace throughout their buildings.
Loss of hot water due to boiler issues, disconnected Wi-Fi, and canceled classes were some of the complications that students at SCSU faced during the power outage.
Earlier this week it was stated that Friday was going to be the hottest day of the week, reaching nearly 90 degrees with high humidity due to incoming storms. For those who were planning on a shower to beat the heat, they were left disappointed, with the showers being unusable.
It was especially troubling for those who love hot showers, only to find out that hot water was not available for use. “[It was] humid to the point where I felt gross and uncomfortable,” freshman Haley Lenway said.
With the internet possessing most resources to communicate with students, faculty, and staff, the internet going down throughout campus made it difficult to get anything accomplished. Some students had homework assignments and tests to complete that morning, but they couldn’t be accessed.
Those who also have data plans on their phones, were unable to gain access if they went over their data minutes, thus making it even harder to understand what was happening or interact with whoever they needed to.
While some might consider canceled classes to be a positive announcement, it was annoying to others who did not get the notice until they had shown up to their classes. SCSU’s Star Alert, the university’s emergency messaging system, had sent out a notification stating that all morning classes were canceled and would resume at 12:00 p.m. Many students waited for the official announcement from their professors, and some didn’t receive confirmation. This led to them showing up to their courses just in case, only to find their professors telling them that class was not in session for the day. One other issue was testing for that day. Some had studied and strained themselves over a test they were prepared to take, to be notified that it was not taking place that day.
Many students waited for the official announcement from their professors, and some didn’t receive confirmation. This led to them showing up to their courses just in case, only to find their professors telling them that class was not in session for the day.
Food was another factor that was greatly impacted by the power failure due to no running water being available. The dining hall on campus, Garvey Commons, was unable to make any more food until power was restored and for almost two hours all that was served were leftovers from breakfast that morning. The eateries at Atwood Memorial Center were having troubles as well, had to close their doors early and lost almost a day’s worth of revenue.
In the end, electricity was restored at approximately 9:45 am and the university continued to run as normally as possible. The Assistant Dean of Students, Jennifer Sell Matzke, had sent out an e-mail to all students reminding them of the dining options left available on campus, and to thank the residential and dining staff for their quick reactions to the matter.
“I’d also like to extend special thanks to our campus facilities staff and food service staff. They hit the ground running to address these issues this morning and haven’t stopped. We are fortunate to have these folks working to minimize disruption in difficult conditions,” Matzke said.
Bethanie is a junior at St. Cloud State and is a mathematics education major with minors in mass communications and special education. This year, she is the Managing Editor for the University Chronicle, a director for in house productions at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and a math tutor. She enjoys writing, rock concerts, and serving her community and fellow students.