With the arrival of Winter Storm Juno last Monday evening, the university had to make plans quickly to ensure the safety for students, faculty and staff on campus. Only able to maintain the bare necessities of campus operations, such as keeping roadways clear and serving food to students, the school was forced to close for two days after two feet of snow fell on the Boston area.
In an email to the Brandeis community last Tuesday evening detailing the closure, reference was made to the efforts of facilities, food service and campus safety staff. While faculty and non-essential staff were allowed to stay home because of the weather hazards, other staff members were still required to come into work in order to shovel walkways or serve meals in Sherman Hall. The email explained how these staff members had been working long hours, some overnight, to maintain proper campus safety and basic operations, and expressed gratitude.
As a result of the severe storm, some staff was stuck on campus, unable to make it home even after their shifts had ended, with some facilities members sleeping in residence hall lounges Monday evening.
In a statement to The Hoot, Vice President of Campus Operations Jim Gray detailed the contingencies that were put in place for this storm to ensure the safety of both students and the staff members, as well as the additional personnel who were brought in to help, tasked with maintaining that safety.
The health and safety of facilities and operations workers was a personal priority according to Gray. Staff members who could not make it home because of poor travel conditions were given use of private spaces in the Faculty Club lodge rooms and other unused residence hall rooms to sleep. They were also provided with meals and were encouraged to take breaks regularly. It was not surprising that some staff members took their break time to rest, as some students witnessed in the lounges, Gray said.
Staff members were rotated regularly to make sure no one was outside too long keeping campus roads and walkways clear, Gray wrote. He expressed his gratitude to the student population who were more than accommodating to the decrease in operations, and the campus staff members for their efforts.
While Gray was able to speak about the efforts put forth to keeping facilities and operations staff safe and comfortable, Sodexo, who is in charge of campus dining services, could not. Both Sodexo General Manager Shawn Monaghan and Senior Director of Operations Randi Kates-Peirce were contacted for comment, but did not respond by press time.