A 'Hurrication' for College Students on the East Coast

Instead of heading to classes and attending regularly scheduled activities, Columbia University student Arvin Ahmadi ’14 and his roommates will be eating chips and watching movies in their dorm room for today and much of tomorrow.

From Massachusetts to New York to Virginia, several universities on the east coast have announced their decisions to cancel classes in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Both in dorm rooms and on the web, students have expressed more delight than concern about the impending storm.

“There is a general consensus of excitement, which is ironic because we are excited about a natural disaster,” Ahmadi said. “It’s basically an excuse to get lots of junk food and have bonding time with my roommates.”

In addition to sleeping in until noon, Ahmadi said he plans to spend the day making hot cider and playing board games.

Soon after Bucknell University’s president sent out an email to students about cancelling classes from 2 p.m. on Monday to noon on Tuesday, Bucknell student Kaisha E. Johnson ’14 said students started celebrating what they dubbed the “Hurrication,”—a neologism combining hurricane and vacation—and posting Facebook statuses that read, “Thank you, Bucknell.”

Like Columbia, Georgetown University has taken its precautions a step further and cancelled classes on Tuesday as well. For Charles J. Kim ’15, this means an extra day to catch up on work and to study for his midterm, which was postponed to Friday.

Kim said that while some students stocked up on food and water, most people were more welcoming than afraid of the hurricane.

“I know a couple friends who were definitely celebrating and even going out,” Kim said. Other than causing the cancellation of classes, Sandy has affected students in other ways as well.

Maya M. Fegan ’14, design editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator, the school’s daily newspaper, said the paper will not print on Tuesday. In addition, Fegan was supposed to fly out to Guyana on Wednesday, but she said she suspects the flight will be cancelled.

Gabe R. Murchison ’14, a Yale University student who lives off campus, said he temporarily moved in to a friend’s dorm room last night when the College asked off-campus students to relocate to a safer space.

“Most folks I know are staying with friends,” he said, “while some are spending the night in College libraries.”

Murchison said he feels safer on campus because the dining hall are open and dorm rooms are less likely than his off-campus housing to experience power outages. Murchison said he plans to stay on campus for the night and may remain there until tomorrow afternoon depending on the weather.

Down in Virginia, Kate A. Stephensen, a first year masters student at University of Virginia Curry School of Education, said she is most worried about losing power because she needs her computer for most of her work. Stephensen, who also is an open water swimmer, said she will not be making a trip to the river anytime soon.

“Certainly no swimming today,” she said.

However, some universities on the east coast, including Duke University and Cornell University, remain open despite the gloomy weather.

“People’s hopes are low because we never get classes cancelled, even when we have snowstorms,” said J. Blake Marchese ’14, a student at Duke University.

Marchese said that while he has not perceived much alarm on campus about the hurricane, he thinks it is a little bizarre that Duke has chosen to have classes when all other colleges in the area have cancelled.

“That being said, given the weather right now, there is no real reason to cancel classes,” Marchese said.

—Staff writer Jane Seo can be reached at janeseo@college.harvard.edu.

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