Whether playing pool in Milner or doing homework in the new apartments, on-campus residents from the theme houses to the old apartments experienced a shock when the power went out on campus on April 23.
“Immediately, I heard screams throughout the parking lot and outside in the hall,” said senior Devon Murphy-Anderson, who was in the new apartments during the power outage.
The outage started at around 9 p.m. and continued for at least four hours.
“I was writing a paper, actually,” said first-year Jackie Sullivan. “And around 9:00, the lights just went off. Everybody started screaming in the hallways. They kind of flickered, so I expected them to come back on and then they didn’t. … Around 1:30, they came back on. We just sat in the dark for a really long time.
“I couldn’t continue writing my paper because I needed the internet to do my research. I kind of just hung out with people. We were in the hallways and in other people’s rooms, walking around, hanging out. We couldn’t do any work. In the dark, we couldn’t read or anything.”
According to an email from Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Todd Clark, half of campus and 2,000 Greensboro residents were affected by the outage.
“Duke Energy is aware and have notified us that they hope to have power restored by 12:30 a.m.,” said Clark in the email. “Founders and the Library have power and Founders will remain open until power is restored.”
Few students left their dorms for Founders or the library, however. Some students were concerned their key cards would not work to let them back into the building. Others did not want to be on campus in the dark during a power outage.
Although students were initially startled, no one was hurt in any way.
“The most inconvenient part of the power outage was that I couldn’t finish my homework,” said Murphy-Anderson. “But we did find out that the power was on in the library and Founders, so if people needed to finish up their work, they could’ve gone there. All in all, it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
This does raise questions about what Guilford would do in a real emergency. There are backup generators in key areas on campus, according to Clark.
“We have an emergency response plan that can be activated,” said Clark in an email interview with The Guilfordian. “Typically, we have to assess the danger of the specific situation. We look at the people and the functions that are impacted and attempt to minimize disruption. The safety of our campus is our top priority.”
Guilford does not have backup generators in the majority of the dorms and residential areas.
“I think that the amount of money it would cost to purchase and maintain a backup generator for the amount of times that Guilford loses power annually is ridiculous, and our money can be much better spent in other areas,” said Murphy-Anderson.
Sullivan believes the generators could be a safety issue.
“It was good that they were in Founders and the library because we had somewhere to go, but … we didn’t want to be in these places so late at night,” said Sullivan. “The dorms would be a good idea.”
Either way, Guilford does have a plan were the College to experience another blackout or a worse disaster. For more information on the campus’ safety plan, contact Todd Clark at [email protected]