Power outage hits campus during regional storm

Allegheny College’s campus lost power on Saturday, March 25, around 9 p.m. The outage was part of a wider power outage that affected customers of power company FirstEnergy Corporation in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia. At one point the next day, more than 14,000 Crawford County residents were still without power, according to an announcement from Meadville’s city manager. 

Todd Meyers, a spokesperson for FirstEnergy said that the power outage resulted from a wind storm that started Friday, March 24.

“There were winds up to 60 miles-per-hour which caused a lot of trees to fall,” Meyers said. “Many power lines were compromised in the testing weather conditions which caused power to be completely lost.”

Just over an hour after power was lost on campus, an email alert at 10:12 p.m. announced that power had been restored to most parts of the campus.

North Village I, Allegheny Commons, Ravine-Narvik Hall and college-owned houses on North Main Street did not have power restored until the evening of Sunday, March 26, according to Dean for Student Life Trae Yeckley.

“Fortunately, the generator started working on Saturday night but, because of the way the power grid is set up, unfortunately, some buildings did not get power back for a while,” Yeckley said.

“We had even prepared an email telling those students that we would relocate them either off-campus or in other on-campus housing in case the power didn’t come back by Sunday night.” 

Yeckley added that it was a priority for the college to ensure that students affected by the power outage after Saturday night were looked after.

“It was mostly upperclassmen housing that was without electricity on Sunday and these students often have smaller meal plans since many prefer to cook themselves,” Yeckley said. “We decided to issue all those students two additional meal swipes on Sunday night to make sure that everyone has a hot meal.”

Students who did not have power on Sunday were also informed that the showers in the David V. Wise Center were available for them in case they did not have access to hot water, Yeckley said. 

ASG Vice President Rudra Schultz-Ray, ’23, said that he was impressed with the college’s response to the situation but it was challenging for ASG to provide much assistance.

“Because of the college’s shared governance and ASG democratic structure, it was really difficult at that moment for us to help much,” Schultzt-Ray said, “our role was mostly advisory.”

Yeckley said that everyone on campus played their role effectively. 

“I’m very impressed with students’ conduct during the power outage because it’s in situations like these that people get ‘funny’ ideas and cause problems,” Yeckley said. “Everyone took it seriously and didn’t make things harder for those trying to help.”

Kofi Mensah, ’25, a resident of Ravine-Narvik Hall, said that despite the inconvenience caused by the absence of electricity, he was not greatly affected by the power outage.

“It wasn’t too bad because I think the college was trying their best to help,” Mensah said. “Me and the people who live next door sort of just stuck together and enjoyed the peace of no lights on or anything. The power wasn’t out for too long and actually came back just as I was about to go shower at the Wise.”

Yeckley said that students have been able to recover well from the power outage.

“We didn’t have to do much once the power came back because everyone sort of transitioned back into the way things usually are,” Yeckley said. “As soon as students started with their week and attended classes on Monday, the power outage started to become a memory from the weekend.”