Column: College students vs. below zero temperatures: Who will outlast who?

The blistering cold that engulfed campus on Wednesday was a well-versed adversary for unprepared college students.

Olivia Apostolovski is a freshman pre-Journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about social issues for The Maneater.

As the bad weather on campus comes to a close, many students (including myself) are truly wondering why, oh why, did MU decide to close only because of the fact that the shuttle buses (thankfully) stopped working and not because of the freezing temperatures that engulfed the entire city of Columbia?

Thankfully so, MU students were able to remain inside all of last Wednesday and classes were delayed last Thursday until 10 a.m. So, all in all, canceled classes were worth the weather we endured. Let’s also keep in mind that it ultimately was the maintenance issues with shuttles that saved us all from a certain fate: enduring the cold to go to class.

On the other hand, however, this raises the question of why school administration would allow students to be outside during subzero temperatures, especially since many students do not have the proper apparel to deal with the wind chill and strong gusts of wind.

If classes had continued, students who lived off campus would have had to endure the cold for longer than most, by having to find parking spots and then wait for a shuttle in the cold. After boarding the shuttle, students would have had to walk in the cold some more before they got to class. Getting to class in the cold also could become a problem for students who live on East Campus, who may depend on walking because of the possibility that they do not have cars or access to the shuttles, while most students who live on campus have easier access to shuttles.

On Jan. 29, MU had tweeted out that campus would be staying open on Jan. 30 and gave advice to students that they should “layer up” and “walk in between buildings” in order to remain warm, despite that temperatures would be in the negatives with negative wind chills as well. The advice seemed to be given by individuals who would most likely only have to be walking from their parking spot to their office, not to a class that is halfway across campus.

Coming from a suburb near Chicago, I am used to the extreme cold and negative wind chills, and anyone who has lived there long enough knows how deadly those conditions are. However, schools have been closed in the past when the wind chill wasn’t as harsh as it was in Columbia last week.

The weather was nothing to joke about last week. With temperatures that low and a wind chill that deadly, students were easily susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite if they were out walking in the cold for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Additionally, individuals in Missouri don’t often have to deal with the prolonged and extreme cold and if they do, it is usually not weather consistently being in the negatives.

If given the time and place, MU may have given more pointless solutions to deal with this cold, which would include (but aren’t limited to): wearing a jacket (preferably with a hood), wearing shoes that are close-toed, carrying hot chocolate because it could warm up your hands, going to classes that are only 10 minutes away or running to classes so you can make them on time, even if you could slip and break an extremity.

Last Wednesday was some of the worst weather I have witnessed since I have been in Missouri. If there was not a decision to cancel classes for the day, there was almost a guarantee that all or most students would not risk attending. Just to spice things up, it was in the 60s last weekend, just in case the negatives weren’t enough of a shock for anyone. Go Missouri.

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