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Blackout over west campus last weekend

Ellis McGinleyManaging Editor

Sarah SheltonFeatures Editor

Madeline ScharfNews Editor

A generator failure in the campus Energy Center led to a nearly six-hour power outage on Friday, Sept.10, cutting electricity and cable services to the west side of campus. 

This included all residence halls, some offices, and Connecticut Hall, forcing dining services to relocate to the Adanti Student Center for the duration of the power outage. 

“I was in the middle of an important exam,” special education major Hannah Clark, a junior, said. “This determines if I get in the education program or not, this is a super important test that just… ended. I’m, like, about to cry.”  

Elevators, running water and internet access were unavailable in the affected buildings. The Student Center and academic buildings were unaffected. 

At the time the outage began, campus electrical services confirmed they had no more information than was eventually provided in emails to students and, at the time, were uncertain when power would be restored.  

“[I’m] a little anxious,” said elementary education major Anna Marvin, a sophomore, minutes after the outage began. “I need to get ready for work. I’m just hoping it gets fixed by Monday.” 

According to some residents, there had been a power outage earlier in morning, although it was not announced over campus alert systems. 

“I got up at like, 7:30[am]. So, I got up and it had come back already, but I noticed like, the microwave and the stove timer were blinking,” said psychology major Anna Jani, a sophomore and Schwartz resident. “And I heard the RAs talking about it.”  

Crucial updates for dining services were posted via Instagram and the Sodexo text alert system. However, students without Wi-Fi or who did not opt into Sodexo text updates for university dining services may not have accessed this information.  

“I wanted to get lunch at Conn., but they’re not letting people in because their power is out too,” said exploratory major Olivia Carluccio, a freshman who lives in Neff. “I have snacks in my dorm, but I wanted to get real food. I had breakfast, though.” 

Resident advisors in West said they knew just as much as students. They were not informed why the outage occurred or when the electricity was estimated to return. 

Liz Floyd, marketing manager for Sodexo, said around 1pm “we have not been yet informed yet on what the issue is or ETA on restoration, but our operations in the student center still have power.” 

Conn. allowed students inside to finish their meals inside the sunlight-lit dining hall but stopped taking new diners after the outage began. 

“If students text OWLS to 82257, they can receive notifications, updates and promotions from campus dining,” Floyd said.  

This number was used to give students updates regarding the outage, relocation and reopening times of the dining hall.  

Perishable food in Conn. were moved to coolers in the student center. 

Food services manager Rinkesh Patel said, “we have coolers in the student center, so we can always transfer there. We are hoping the power comes back soon. If for any reason they let us know there’s no power for the whole day, we’ll open for dinner services in the student center.” 

Approximately half an hour after Patel’s comments, it was announced the power outage was due to a generator failure in the Energy Center. It was estimated the outage would last as many as six hours, and the cause was uncertain. 

However, the outage was unrelated to underground construction at the new School of Business site, which residential students were notified via email may have affected internet and cable connections Saturday, Sept.11.  

At 5:18 p.m., it was announced via SouthernAlert email that power had been restored to the west side of campus. More information on why the outage occurred was not provided.   

“I’m just gonna go back and grab my skateboard,” said computer science major Miles Meade, a junior, at the start of the afternoon.  “Hang outside, I guess. It’s a nice day.”  

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