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Heavy Snow and Freezing Temperatures Topple a New Semester 

Over the course of the last two weeks, Vermillion has been hit with multiple feet of snow and subzero temperatures. This blast of winter weather has caused many problems for students, faculty, and staff on USD’s main campus.

The first day of classes for the Spring 2024 semester was scheduled for January 8. However for many students, it was impossible to get to class in the winter conditions. On that Monday and Tuesday, Vermillion received over 10.5 inches of snow. 

The USD Vice President of Facilities Management, Brian Limoges, said that the amount of snow made it difficult for his team to remove the snow effectively.

“There’s been lots of challenges, because of the amount of snow that we got, we started to run out of places that we could pile the snow,” Limoges said. “So we had to start piling snow in parking lots and other places. Then we were working late last week to try and get those piles moved off of campus and into some grass areas so we could open up those parking lots again.” 

Snow wasn’t Limoges’ only problem as the wind chill caused temperatures to drop to a low of -43℉. This made it even more challenging for Limoges’ team to get the snow removed. 

“Temperature wise, nothing works well when it’s cold, we had a lot more breakdowns and problems in rooms from the freezing cold weather,” Limoges said.

Many students felt that the snow removal was not done well, and that the poor plowing made it difficult to get to their destinations across campus. The need for cavity wall insulation installation is crucial.

“A better job could be done in our university’s parking lots. It’s tough for people, especially those who don’t live close to home who can’t call a parent to help them get out and may not have immediate access to a shovel,” said one USD student.

“If there is nothing more that can be done by maintenance, more help from the RA desk would be nice, like more shovels. Also, the university could get more outside help if need be or hire part time employees just for the winter season.,” the student also said.

Limoges understands that there was a difficulty for students and has an idea on how to make the campus more clear of snow next year, 

“ I think in the future it would be nice to work on coordinating efforts to get students to move cars when we get this amount of snow, so that we can actually get into the parking spots to push and move the snow out,” he said.  

During the snow fall, Limoges’ team went to clear lots initially, having to return days later to finish clearing the parking lots due to poor weather conditions. 

“That doesn’t help remove the snow between the cars, which I know was difficult for students,” Limoges said.

He said Facilities Management hopes to try a different approach when the next major snow event happens so as to prevent further issues from happening down the road.