Sunday, February 10, 2013

Nemo Found Us

The campuses of the University of Rhode Island, especially in Kingston, took a bit of a pounding from a serious nor’ easterner (named Nemo, of all things) this past weekend.  Big Chill, our annual gala fundraiser for scholarships was postponed until March, classes were canceled (along with many other events), and our emergency management systems and procedures experienced a severe test.  We passed. As I sit in my office late on Sunday afternoon, power has been restored to most of the campus and our crews are still hard at working plowing, snowplowing, shoveling, cleaning up, and providing essential services.  All of us in the URI community owe them a lot of thanks. They got very little sleep for 48 hours and many worked in severe conditions to repair power systems, keep the roads passable, and take care of our students.  I cannot say that our management of all this was perfect, and we will thoroughly assess what went well and where our efforts were less than satisfactory. We will learn from this and improve.  For those who contacted us to share your concerns and frustrations, I thank you for your comments – your input will help us get better.
There were some memorable moments that were very positive, however.  After 24 hours without power ourselves, we were delighted to welcome, shortly after our power was restored, five refugees from Xi Omega to our house on campus when several of our fraternities and sororities needed to evacuate their buildings owing to power outages. 

Here they are, along with our niece Emily, who is a pharmacy student at URI.

And here is a picture of the Upper College Road branch of Xi Omega’s “common” room.
All I can say is that when everything gets back to (at least close to) normal on Monday or Tuesday, Lynn and I (and Rhody and Lily) will miss them.
Thanks again to all those who make the University of Rhode Island a special community: our students, our dedicated staff, and our faculty.  Let's hope all this snow melts expeditiously!