Winter is coming: the making of a snow day

Alex Palmieri News Writer

Patrick Dilger is the man responsible to let the Southern community know whether classes are canceled due to inclement weather. With the winter right around the corner, Dilger will be sending the emails all students are overjoyed to hear.

All over Twitter, every year, students tweet how anxious they are to see the email from Dilger to inform them that classes are cancelled. When inclement weather appears, Dilger would get up in the mornings around 5 a.m. to see if the roads are too messy for students and commuters to travel. Though he does not decide whether classes are cancelled or not, Dilger is the one to notify everyone.

“It starts with the police chief – Chief Dooley, and Bob Sheeley, who’s the associate VP for facility operations,” said Dilger, director of integrated communications and marketing. “They monitor the weather from various sources.”

There is a lot more information that goes into a snow day than students may think. Dilger said Sheeley has a lot of weather tracking services that he monitors. So if there is a severe storm coming within the next few days, Dilger said they will have a good idea of the severity since Sheeley would be tracking it into the early morning hours.

“It’s really a group effort,” said Dilger. “Usually we try to get the word out by 5:45 a.m. The rule of thumb is we will have an announcement out by 6 a.m.”

Mokia Hull, a senior psychology major, said she thinks Southern’s crew does a fairly well job to notify all of its students and faculty about cancellations and delays that the school faces.

“I mean I think they do pretty well,” said Hull.

Hull said she does not like driving in the snow so if there is inclement weather approaching, and she does not think she can drive in it, she hopes Southern will cancel classes for the day.

 On the morning of a storm day, Dilger said him along with another college will get together and send out massive emails, texts and alerts to the entire Southern community. Dilger said he encourages everyone to get signed up for Southern Alert texts since the inclement weather season is right around the corner.

“Sign up for Southern Alert,” said Dilger. “It’s not just for weather; it’s for any sort of emergency. Otherwise you will just get an email.”

Trever Sprouse, a senior media studies major, is a commuter to the Southern campus. He said he is happy to have emails sent to him from Dilger and the crew to notify him whether classes are cancelled or not.

“I always check my emails,” said Sprouse. “That’s how I get my information.”

Even though Sprouse is a commuter, if the roads are bad and Southern still has classes, he said he would still attempt to come to class. Students do pay for their classes after all.

“I would still come,” said Sprouse. “Unless it was for some reason really bad and they just didn’t cancel.”

Dilger said aside from tweeting, he and his crew will also put the alerts up on Facebook, Southern’s homepage, TV stations and radio stations. He added students will speak their minds to him if they don’t agree with the call that Dilger and his crew made.

“I get a little chuckle out of it,” said Dilger. “I tend to trend upward or downward depending on what the call is, and that’s the way it goes. I don’t mind people having fun. I actually think it is good to have a name out there because if people do have questions, I always respond.”

Photo Credit: Alex Palmieri – News Writer


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