Due to the confusion that occurred during the campus power outage on November 13, ENC’s Student Development Office plans to communicate a clear procedure on how students should respond if a similar outage were to occur again.
Because ENC has many new staff members, many were uncertain during last semester’s power outage on how to react in this particular situation. The power went out for 16 minutes, and the staff did not know how to organize or direct the students. Residential Directors (RDs) and Residential Assistants (RAs) seemed confused about what to communicate to the students. Other problems included students propping doors open after realizing their cards no longer worked to open them with the power out.
Regarding these problems, Director of Residential Staff and Housing Elisabeth Moreau stated that the Student Development Office wants to create a policy that will “make clear for staff and students how to react in such a situation.“ Although establishing the exact procedure is still in process, the residential life staff has already come up with a few essential guidelines for the residential students at ENC.
One of the first guidelines indicates that students should stay inside their buildings because a power outage is usually caused by stormy weather, like wind or snow. The residential staff wants the students to stay safe inside.
Another guideline is that students will have to be in phone contact with their RAs because they will give the students instructions about how to proceed. It is also the RAs duty to make sure that every student is safe. Part of the RA procedure will be to walk around the buildings and check that everything is as it should be. “If a student is off-campus, the residential staff does not have to worry about their safety, “Moreau explains. Depending on when the outage occurs, the RAs may have to communicate with food service for the students. For instance, if it occurs before dinner time, the food service has to find a solution how to feed the students.
If a power outage happens during open dorm time, Moreau explained that the policy will call for visitors to move to common halls. It is easier for the residential staff to keep track of everybody. Furthermore, students must not prop open the electrical doors of the buildings. Although students cannot get in anymore because the cards do not work during the power outage, doors have to be kept closed. Monroe warns that “it is important to keep the doors closed to conserve heat in the building. “To allow students to get in and out of the building, the building RD will open and supervise one designated door which students may use.
Since a final policy is still in the works, the residential life team is still in the process of working with Security to communicate procedures that students need to follow. The policy will dictate that Security will communicate with the city about how to respond and may include the need to wait for instructions from the local government. Also, the security guards will walk around campus in addition to checking that all doors are in the correct position.
After this power outage occurred, and during, many professors were unsure of what to do in such situations. As a final component of the anticipated power outage policy, ENC Office of Safety and Security will provide faculty and staff with guidelines and instructions for how to respond in different circumstances involving power outages, with protocol varying depending on the specific occurrence.