The difference between 11:00 and 11:15 for the KMY dorm halls on Tuesday night was about as vast as the difference between a summer storm and a winter blizzard.
At exactly 11:14 p.m., an email sent by Jim Histand, Vice President for Finance, notified students and faculty that due to the blizzard conditions, classes and activities for Wednesday would be cancelled, marking the second time in the college’s history that classes were cancelled due to snow.
By 11:15, the whoops and hollers from frequent-email-checkers notified other students, who shot out of bed and joined the yelling. In the KMY connector, pajama-clad students ditched their homework to join an impromptu dance-party that formed in the hallway.
At 11:20, several barefoot and shirtless boys could be seen running through the snowy lawn in celebration.
The joyous festivities were understandable, seeing that the last time Goshen College declared a “Snow Day,” was 33 years ago during the blizzard of 1978. The storm paralyzed Indiana with snow on Jan. 25-29, with 36 inches hitting South Bend.
Duane Stoltzfus, a professor of Communications, was a student at Goshen College when the ’78 blizzard hit. Professors John Roth and Deb Brubaker were also students at the time.
“All of us who were students during the Blizzard of ’78 felt like members of an exclusive club: we could say — and we often did — that ‘we were there’ during the only time in the college’s history when it closed down because of snow,” said Stoltzfus, “Now the club is going to double in size. Since the college has been offering classes for more than 100 years, that’s still a pretty exclusive club.”
The 33 year time span between the blizzards is so significant that students in the first blizzard even have students of their own now. Trish Yoder, an admission counselor, was a student in 1978, and her daughter, Lynelle Yoder, is a sophomore student now.
“A blizzard happened when my mom was here, it happened when I was here, and if I ever have a daughter that comes to Goshen–I wonder if it will happen again!” said Lynelle.
Students spent their historical snow day in a variety of ways. While some focused on completing homework, others celebrated in creative ways, including a “Blizzard Beach Bash” hosted by several friends, complete with a summer attire dress code.
Though snowfall has ceased, students are encouraged to comply with the city’s emergency weather standards by limiting car travel and walking carefully by foot. Classes and activities will resume on Thursday the 3rd.