Snow days for safety’s sake

By: Paul Gutbrod – Columnist, Freshman

A Monday night at 9:30 p.m. was when nearly every student at UD was checking either their emails or Porches to see the “Official Statement” calling for a day off from classes.

I, of course, was one of those people. The ecstasy of a snow day has hardly diminished since grade school and high school. In fact, it may have been augmented by the rarity of snow days in college (at least at UD). The euphoria that met the announcement on Porches was a thunderous cacophony of triumphant jubilation.

Within seconds of the announcement, the music was blaring, people were running down the halls shouting their joy to the world, posting the “no school” update on any and every social media, and, naturally, flinging aside every item of homework. There are few things that come to my mind that can inspire such an intense and elated response from college students.

After the initial burst of excitement had began to wear off, students began planning what they would do with this unexpected night off. Within minutes there was talk of drinking and getting drunk. It was quickly established that this would be like a weekend night.I had no intention of drinking that night, so I headed up to Stuart to hang out with friends, play some ping pong and relax a bit.

When I finally made the trip back home (in -18 degree weather), I planned on going to bed. However, I was quickly intercepted and recruited to sit with a friend who was seriously contemplating the trash can, or at least his stomach was. So I sat, talked and chilled with him for close to an hour until he felt well enough to go to sleep.

But during the talk, he proposed the subject of this article. He told me, “You should write an article talking about if it is actually safer to have snow days because everyone goes and drinks.” So now, I pose that same question. Does the safety of staying indoors really counter the potential dangers of drunkenness in which so many students participate?

I do not have an exact answer to this question, but I would like to discuss it anyway. At the college age, a day off means drinking (in many students’ minds). While at a younger age, snow days equated to no homework, playing in the snow, watching movies and hanging out with friends.

Now these innocent activities are replaced by much more dangerous ones. One might say that a snow day is no worse than a typical Friday in the Ghetto, but the heightened intensity and emotion of a snow day inspires a certain recklessness which is less prevalent on your typical weekend day. Also, the frigid temperatures make being outdoors much more dangerous (especially if intoxicated).

Before going to bed, I managed to convince several friends to not take the walk because it was so cold. They were drunk and just kind of fancied a walk, forgetting school was canceled due to the freezing temperatures.

I do not think it’s an option to not have snow days, but I think people, students especially, ought to take more care in remembering that the day off is called for safety’s sake. Replacing the danger of the weather with perhaps more potent danger is not a wise move. Snow days are immensely memorable and wonderful gifts to students.

I just ask that some of the reasons for which snow days are called (namely safety) are retained.

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