Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Southwest Residential Area loses power for nearly two hours Wednesday night

Power went out at roughly 5:30 p.m. before being restored after 7:00 p.m.
Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

Several buildings in the Southwest Residential Area, including the Hampshire Dining Commons, at the University of Massachusetts lost power on Wednesday amidst snow squall warnings in the Amherst area.

The power went out shortly after 5:30 p.m. Wednesday night and wasn’t restored until after 7 p.m.

“We heard the wind first,” said senior Xavier Sanchez-Felix, a resident of Coolidge Tower. The lights went out in the common room where he was studying, leaving the area pitch black until a few emergency lights came on. Since the elevators were inoperable, he took the stairs down from his ninth-floor dorm room.

Freshman Brittany DeBarros, a resident of Kennedy Tower, was lying on her bed when things went dark. “I thought it was just me, so I went to go flip my lights on,” she said, adding that she didn’t realize the whole tower was without power until she saw the hallway had gone dark too.

At Hampshire DC, employees were forced to write down student ID numbers on a sheet of paper to account for meal swipes.

“I was doing salad bar, but they wouldn’t let me go into the freezer because they didn’t want the cold to escape,” said Rubee Sandhu, a UMass senior who works as kitchen prep for Hampshire DC. Though not nearly as crowded as usual during the dinner rush, some students still dined under the glow of a few scattered lights and exit signs.

“We were cleaning tables for a while, but now we’re just kind of sitting here waiting for further instruction,” said Sandhu’s coworker Lily Coppinger, also a senior.

Chicken & Co. in the Southwest area also suffered from the outages.

“We had to throw away all of our fried food,” said UMass sophomore and employee Caroline Wienkamp. “Five pounds of chicken, three pounds of French fries.”

Some students were worried about losing heat, with temperatures expected to dip below zero degrees in the early hours Thursday.

“The lobby was just as cold as the outside when we left,” said freshman Matthew Evans of Kennedy Tower, adding that with limited laptop and phone batteries, he was concerned about completing class assignments. “Class isn’t going to be cancelled for us, but we still have our homework due. It’s not our fault we lost power.”

At approximately 7:10 p.m., UMass Facilities and Campus Services stated in an email that “crews are on scene and actively working to restore power in the southwest area of campus. Affected buildings have heat and emergency lighting. Card access to the residential halls continue to work. Additional updates will be provided.”

Power appeared to have been restored to many of the buildings by 7:20 p.m. At 8:37 p.m., an email alert was sent to all UMass community members stating that power was officially restored in Southwest.

David Geddes can be reached at [email protected].

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  • T

    TMJan 31, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    Un-operational? Inoperable.

  • E

    Ed Cutting, EdDJan 31, 2019 at 2:16 pm

    Why are we not surprised that there is emergency power for card access (and all the cameras) but not for the valves & circ punps that regulate the (steam) heat? (The stuff that controls it runs on electricity.)
    UMass wants to control it’s students — but doesn’t give a damn if they freeze…
    As an aside, this was probably caused by a pole coming down in North Amherst — with the snow, my guess would be an auto accident or tree blown down — and PPlant did good patching the circuits over to something else as quickly as they did
    But the fact remains that UMass has shown its priorities — and that’s something to remember when they start calling you for money.

  • P

    pete mostJan 30, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    The amount of endowment divided by the number of students is less than you pay in tuition and fees, umass is one of the only colleges in the country with such a paltry endowment(because of low alumni giving rate) and rate, usually the per capita endowment is far higher than tuition. It also pays 40 million dollars a year in interest on debt.. all for new buildings.

    Meanwhile other buildings including where people live is woefully ignored. It’s really quite sad and also idiotic; it’s because of the crappy quality of infrastructure on campus and because of how the college treats students, you get less than what you pay for. So as result people don’t want to donate to umass.

    But thankfully we have zoomass, next time there is a power outage, students should throw a wild party.