Reactions to the Campus Blackout

3 Nov

Taken by: Jesse L. Kline

October 29th 2011, as I was stretching after my workout I looked up at the window and saw snow falling from the cold gray sky. Snow before Halloween?! How could this be? By the time I had gotten back to my room on the fourth floor, it was snowing much harder and began to accumulate on the grass and trees. I think I’ll just stay in, I thought.

As I sat in the living room near the gas fireplace, the lights kept flickering. Having experienced winter storms before I knew the power was definitely going to go out at some point that evening. As my house and I were sitting at dinner a mist the flickering florescent lights, the power finally went out. It was bound to come back on soon, right?

No, the power did not come on for more than twenty four hours. No computers, no internet, no lights (other than the emergency lights in the hallways). Students had to conserve their battery power on cell phones, if the battery wasn’t already dead. But also no hot water for tea, no coffee, and limited food choices. The power outage made me realize how much we rely on technology and electricity in our every day lives and also how socially isolating technology can be.

My housemates and I passed the time by reading assignments that were not on the internet and later by playing games and sharing stories while gathered in the one room of the house with heat and light. “This must be what it was like in the early days at Smith.” one of my housemates commented. In that room, we laughed and talked together, rather than complain about the lack of internet and power. It helped me see that we can find entertainment in spaces other than visual media on the television or internet and that maybe we should try to find other forms of entertainment even when the power is on.

Nicole Downer

CEEDS Intern

2 Responses to “Reactions to the Campus Blackout”

  1. Maya November 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    I’m bothered by the fact that I haven’t heard ANYONE mention climate change. It’s great that we handled the black out in good spirits, but this snow storm wasn’t random….

    • Smith College CEEDS November 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

      Hi Maya,

      You bring up a really interesting topic. Thanks for commenting. I would love to see an event discussing climate change in relationship to weather patterns. Let’s discuss it when you are next at CEEDS.


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