Snowed in and Stuck Behind Screens

Travis Alajoki, contributor

Augsburg campus unexpectedly had to shift back to an online format due to the weather from Feb. 21 through Feb. 23. The situation was reminiscent of when campuses nationwide went virtual for the COVID-19 pandemic, making it so professors and students alike go back to that mindset.

“Teaching on Zoom was a really bad flashback to a few years ago during the COVID pandemic. It was one of those things where I felt like the whole day leading up to teaching I was dreading going on camera again even though I have been doing it for so long,” said Ben Denkinger, an Augsburg psychology professor in response to the changes that the recent snow storm caused on campus. “It’s weird that after not teaching only on Zoom for just a year it’s like that part of my brain had repressed the memory of ever teaching on Zoom. It was painful to go back as a faculty member.”

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the storm accumulated 13.4 inches of snow in the Twin Cities from Feb. 21 through Feb. 23. The highest wind speeds recorded were 18 mph, and it even made it on the DNR’s top 25 snowstorms in the Twin Cities list! For the Augsburg community, the storm affected people in a variety of ways.

“Luckily I was able to go out and get things before the storm was going to hit. But it was a struggle to get around,” said first-year student Tom Mickelson, “I had to help a bunch of people push their cars out of the snow due to the plows blocking them in.”

Due to the physical barrier the snow presented to students getting to class, Augsburg decided it was the best idea to move in-person classes online on Wednesday and Thursday. Some classes on Friday were also kept on Zoom so students could keep safe and warm. Many students, like Mike Novak, mentioned that moving to Zoom classes had its pros and cons.

“My whole schedule got messed up even though I liked Zoom,” said Novak. “It personally worked well for me due to being a commuter but I did end up falling behind in my classes last week and hopefully I can catch back up.”

Others really enjoyed the move back to online classes for a couple of days, like first-year student Via Ruiz.

“I do know that the storm impacted me differently since I live on campus. I’m glad the storm happened now instead of during winter break because since I live here and I am able to use the skyways and tunnels to get around campus. If I was at home, I wouldn’t be able to do anything but sit around and wait,” said Ruiz. “But I do think the storm impacted everyone since we had our classes online but for me personally, I thought it was nice to do online classes for a change.”

Even though the storm didn’t end up as bad as weather officials predicted, it still had a lasting impact on the people in our community. From causing them to fall behind to others being happily snowed into their dorms, this snowstorm was definitely one that students and the Augsburg community will be remembering for the foreseeable future.