Several feet of snow engrossed students atop a Tufts University hill Saturday as one slid down the Medford, Mass. slope in a kayak. Bundled in layers of wool and down, dozens followed behind him in sleds, snow spewing back onto their faces.
“It’s like you’re five again, but you don’t have to listen to your parents and get in before dark,” Tufts sophomore Emily Price, 19, said. “All those places you know your parents would think are too dangerous to sled you can, and now you can do so in a kayak.”
Winter storm Nemo blanketed some Northeastern college campuses with nearly a foot of snow this weekend — halting transportation and plans. From Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. to Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., many colleges cancelled some or all classes Friday, and many campus buildings were closed over the weekend.
Outside the library at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., students got creative with the snowfall from winter storm Nemo.
Highlighting winter storms’ severity, The Weather Channel began naming snowfall events this season. With a name connoted to the 2003 animated movie — something The Weather Channel didn’t intend — Nemo resonated with college students who were “finding” the storm.
“It’s like we’re all little fish in the big snow,” Brown University freshman Lauren Levy, 18, said. “College is a chance to grow up, but when the snow fell everyone let their little kid out again.”
As the first flakes fell Friday morning, Finding Nemo memes, Twitter accounts and Facebook statuses stormed the Internet.
Like last October’s superstorm Sandy memes featuring SpongeBob SquarePants’ Sandy Cheeks, Disney Pixar’s animated clownfish was featured referencing movie quotes and characters to find humor in the record-breaking blizzard.
“People personify big storms,” Amherst College senior John Yarchoan, 21, said. “I don’t think it takes away anything about the science from it, but if it makes people remember it then great.”
As meteorologists confirmed the storm’s severity, college public safety departments sent several e-mails cautioning students to stay indoors. Heeding such advice, resident assistants at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, organized a Finding Nemo movie night in dorms Friday night, sophomore Sawyer Bowman, 19, said.
Once a few feet of snow accumulated Saturday morning, many students at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., headed outside, commemorating the blizzard with sledding and snowball fights.
Be it scooting down hills in a plastic laundry basket or tobogganing on a trash can lid, makeshift sleds were common on college hills this weekend. Buying manufactured sleds was an option too, but those at Brown in Providence, R.I., had more fun swiping trays from the one open cafeteria, Levy said.
But the days of snatching dining hall trays for sledding are dwindling as many college cafeterias have eliminated or reduced tray use — minimizing food waste as well as energy and water use.
Though at least one dining hall remained open on most campuses, students without a meal plan took extra precaution to prepare for the storm.
Between classes Friday, New York University sophomore Jessica Littman, 19, ventured to the grocery store for water bottles, cereal and energy bars in case she lost power.
Most campuses retained electricity during the blizzard, though. While there aren’t yet plans to cancel any Monday classes, trekking through several inches of ice and snow to get there could cause minor delays.
“I’ll leave to walk to class a bit earlier, but they’ve been doing a good job of getting the snow off the sidewalks,” Bowman said. “We’re going to have a lot of impromptu snowball fights between classes.”
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