The Cabrini College campus was no victim to “cabin fever” during the outrageous snowstorms on both Feb. 5 and Feb. 9 that accumulated over two feet of snow. The school’s dining services and maintenance facilities are credited with keeping the campus running.
“We have an extremely dedicated staff that knows what needs to happen, even in bad weather conditions,” Drew Niemann, general manager for Sodexo dining services, said.
Niemann and his staff plan ahead in case of events like this past snowstorm. Dining services buys in heavy bulk when forecasts call for storms. The cafeteria must be open despite bad weather.
Dining services monitors the weather forecast. The staff works with public safety to make sure transportation is possible.
“If a staff member takes the train into work public safety will pick them up from the station,” Niemann said. “I stayed in a house on campus for two days to keep things running smoothly.”
Niemann recognizes the student employees as huge assets in order to keep facilities open during weather emergencies. Students Matt Casazza, Anthony Casazza, Kaitlyn Wilson, Michelle Grant and Melissa Carr helped in the effort to feed the students.
“99 percent of the students were fed on Wednesday,” Niemann said. “That means there were only eight students on our counts who have meal plans that we didn’t feed.”
Niemann acknowledges, however, that the dining services cannot take full credit. Many departments are heavily involved in the safety of the campus community.
Gus Feudale, facilities department ground manager, keeps close eye on weather reports at first notice of inclement weather. The maintenance staff is what many would consider a force not to be reckoned with.
“I was shocked at how much they had plowed and so early in the morning,” Danielle Serino, sophomore secondary education major, said. “I was out a few times to walk to the cafeteria or to clean off my car and the maintenance guys were always busy doing work.”
The maintenance staff prioritizes which walkways are plowed first depending on the type of storm and its duration. For instance, the resident buildings’ walkways as well as the academic buildings are plowed before the Mansion or Grace Hall.
The extreme efforts made by the maintenance staff to keep things manageable takes its toll physically on the manpower behind the upkeep of the campus. Certain facility workers are accommodated with sleeping arrangements in severe weather.
“We try to get everyone rest and the guys are given the option of staying on campus after their shift to get some sleep,” Feudale said. “This past storm, several people stayed in Emmaus house, East Residence Hall and even in Putnam house at Valley Forge Military Academy. We’ve been known to try to get some sleep just about anywhere though: a couch in Founder’s Hall, a quiet area upstairs in the Dixon center or grabbing a sleeping bag and getting some rest on the floor of our facilities offices.”
Without the exertion of Cabrini’s dining services or maintenance facilities, the college would not have been able to serve the students during the recent storms.
“All facilities have to work together to maintain the safety and security of our students,” Niemann said. “If it means working 14 hour days to get the job done then so be it. People got to eat.”