“Storm of the decade” put a chill on student services last week

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Students needing the Bookstore or TRUSU met with frustration last week when the largest two-day snowfall since 1927 closed the Campus Activity Centre (CAC) due to power loss.

Almost 40 centimetres of snow fell Jan. 5-6, closing all schools in Kamloops, including TRU. Four buildings on campus, including TRU radio station CFBX and the CAC were left in the dark after a transformer was damaged by the excessive snowfall.

“There was a lot of snow on top of the transformer and then it melted and got it wet,” said TRU media relations and communications manager, Diana Skoglund.

She added that the problem would not be fixed until at least Monday, Jan. 12

In response to the continued outage, TRU encouraged students to order textbooks online to be picked up at a designated spot on campus within 36 hours of ordering.

“We’re making arrangements for staff to get in [the Bookstore] now to be able to work in the dark,” Skoglund said Jan. 7.

Director of ancillary services, Glen Read, said bookstore staff received around 400 online book orders for pick up.

Alternative locations for student cards, TRUSU inquiries and UPass renewals were also set up in Old Main while the power was out. Students without an updated UPass were also able to access the bus by showing their student card until Jan. 9.

According to TRU political science professor Derek Cook, the fact that students were unable to access textbooks during the first week of class is both inconvenient and detrimental to student learning.

“I’ve got lots to say and I can give them things to read… we’ll just have to catch up. But it’s an imposition, especially in courses where there’s more of a set schedule, like accounting,” he said. “How are they going to deal with that if they don’t have the book?”

While the transformer has not jet been fixed, the power has now been restored to major student services in the CAC. TRU brought in generators to power select services Jan. 8. TRUSU immediately reopened their Members’ Services Desk and the promised textbook pick up was set up in the CAC. The bookstore itself reopened Friday Jan. 9 and added extended hours over the weekend and into this week to make up for the early semester closure.

“The January rush tends to be not as big of a rush as the September one, so we’ll just sort of see how it goes and if the demand is there, we’ll just stay open longer just to accommodate all the needs of the students,” Read said.