Windstorm knocks out power on campus: Facilities operations looking to improve resistance to outages

Emily Cohen

Grace Wilgucki ‘19 was sitting in a library cubicle studying for her biology exam when the power outage hit. It was Sunday morning around 10:30 a.m.

“I was highlighting my notes when the lights around me went dark,” Wilgucki said.

The power across campus allegedly turned off because of the strong windstorm, according to an email from Director of Lafayette College Facilities Operations Bruce Ferretti.

“The Utility Company, Metropolitan Edison Co., did not specifically identify the reason for our outage,” Ferretti wrote in an email.

Although the power did go off, Wilgucki said she and other students were still able to access wifi.

“The problem was that we were only able to use our computers and phones for a certain amount of time before they ran out of battery,” Wilgucki said.

The last time Lafayette encountered a power outage was just last month, when a small wire melted inside of a telephone pole. However, “there is no connection between our last power outage and the recent one,” Ferretti wrote.

Students across campus had to come up with alternate plans in order to do their homework and to study for the coming week’s tests.

Some students went off campus in order to escape the power outage. Jeeda Ani ‘19 went downtown to a friend’s house in Easton, while other students that did not have friends close by ended up heading to the library at Lehigh University.

“I Ubered [to Lehigh] with a friend and once we got there, the power here went back on,” Wilgucki said.

The power returned to campus around 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, but Ferretti is unsure what brought the power back.

“The Utility restored the power feed to campus but we do not know what was done,” Ferretti wrote.

“All dorms and dining halls were affected except Pi Beta Phi, Alpha Phi, DU, Conway

House, 4 West Campus, Tri Delta, McKelvy House, 225 Reeder, Delta Gamma, Feather House, Williams Visual Arts Center, Buck Hall, The Portlock Center, Hillel House, Newman House, Print Making studios, The Spot, and the Kamine Varsity House,” he added.

Facilities operations has taken action and has asked an electrical engineering design firm to study our electrical distribution system, Ferretti wrote in an email.

“We want them to make recommendations on how to improve our system and make it more resistant to outages,” he wrote.