Vehicles disappeared under a blanket of white and students
armed themselves with shovels to tackle the six feet
of snow that fell on the SUNY Oswego campus during a
snowstorm from Feb. 5 to 10.
A student chips away little by little at the hard packed snow behind her car. The mound had already reached the top of her trunk, and the snow continued to fall.
"The biggest snowfall was about a 12-hour period
from Monday night to Tuesday morning when about 30 inches
fell," said Assistant Meteorology Professor Scott
However, that didn’t stop the Auxiliary Services
workforce from keeping students fed. Some employees
walked through the blizzard from as far away as the
Oswego Speedway in order to provide students with food
during the storm.
“It was a little scary,” Hewitt Union dining
service worker Joe Natoli said. “My biggest fear
was getting hit by a snowplow.”
It took Natoli over an hour and a half to walk three
miles to work. He made several stops to get out of the
weather and warm up before he caught a ride with a co-worker.
A 16-year Auxiliary Services veteran, Natoli had never
seen conditions as bad as during this storm. “The
visibility was zero. That was the worst,” he said.
The rapidly falling snow and extreme white out conditions
attracted the attention of a CNN crew, who broadcast
live from the shores of Lake Ontario; New
York Times reporter David Staba; and National
Public Radio correspondents, who interviewed WRVO staff
about the storm that made news around the world.
Students were left stranded while classes were cancelled
for three days. Even the snowplows were finding it nearly
impossible to keep up with the inches of snow that fell
Littlepage dining manager Maureen Pierce, a 31-year
employee, was reminded of past Oswego winters as the
snow piled up outside.
“This reminded me of the Blizzard of ’66,”
Like many, Pierce arrived on campus around 6 a.m. to
start preparing food for the day and worked as late
as 11 p.m. on a few occasions. However, getting to and
from work Tuesday was what she called, “a little
hairy.” Pierce left her car in a campus parking
lot overnight and carpooled with fellow employees to
get home safely.
“By going through these storms you learn by past
experiences,” she said.
As the snow piled up, it posed quite a problem for drivers
to maneuver the dangerous roads, leaving students incapable
of using take out services or having the luxury of food
delivery. Meal counts increased by 50 to 100 servings
at some facilities as students flocked to the dining
halls for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“The week flew by,” Pathfinder manager and
campus nutritionist Judi Phillips said. “Every
day was very, very hectic. There was a lot of teamwork.
A lot of people were doing jobs that they normally wouldn’t
(From left) Betty Bickford,
’98 and Judi Phillips,
of Pathfinder Dining Hall prepare sandwiches to
serve students for lunch.
To help staff members stay safe, they were offered rooms
in Sheldon Hall’s East Wing for the night while
others stayed with family and friends in the city, closer
to campus, and some carpooled, Phillips said.
For Pathfinder salad preparer Betty Bickford and other
employees, who live outside the city in areas like Hannibal,
the weather was bad enough to stop them from getting
to work at all. After attempting to make the drive Monday
morning, Bickford had to turn around.
“There was no way,” she said.
Missing two days of work that week, Bickford drove home
Thursday night only to hear that more snow was on the
way. Worried that she may not be able to return for
work the next morning, she called her boss and asked
that he reserve her a room in Sheldon Hall’s East
Wing. Bickford drove back to campus that same evening,
spent the night and was on time for work Friday morning.
“It’s not the first snowstorm I’ve
seen but it’s the first time that I haven’t
been able to get to work because of the snow in 25 years,”
Director of Resident Dining Craig Traub returned to
work Thursday morning equipped with an air mattress
and a sleeping bag. “I was prepared,” he
said about the possibility of being stranded on campus
overnight. Ultimately, Traub also reserved a room in
The wind whipped snow across roadways deceiving even
those most familiar with the campus, like store keepers
and truck drivers Kate Godden
’81, Kim Scruton and Sue Wilder. With more
than 50 years of experience between the three, the women
had never seen visibility as bad as during this storm.
“I got lost Thursday going to Littlepage,”
Godden, who was making the 6 a.m. donut run from the
campus bakery, could barely see out the truck’s
windshield when she turned down the wrong road.
Some days the women fell behind, waiting in their office
up to an hour and a half for the snow to subside.
Commissary workers (from
left) Kim Scruton, Kate
and Sue Wilder fill orders from the dining halls
from goods in the warehouse before loading them
onto a truck for delivery.
With most of the needed ingredients on hand, dining
halls made do until the delivery trucks arrived.
“We were pretty prepared for the storm,”
said Brandy Tynan ’98,
assistant manager at Pathfinder Dining Hall. “Without
some of the staff we couldn’t make everything
on the menu, but we had plenty of food.”
“We tried to maintain the menu as best we could,”
Godden and her crew made up to four trips each day delivering
fresh baked goods and produce to the dining halls for
lunch and dinner.
“It was an amazing week,” Traub said. “We
didn’t miss a meal.”
—Emily King ’05 and Tim Nekritz M ’05
To March 2007 E-Newsletter