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Vanderbilt employees step up to battle winter weather on campus

Feb. 19, 2021, 9:33 AM

Many Vanderbilt employees have stepped up to ensure that campus operations continue despite extremely cold temperatures and snow accumulation over the past five days. 

“It has been remarkable to see the dedication of so many members of our staff, who are navigating these harsh weather conditions to ensure that we can continue our academic mission,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “I want to thank each of these individuals for stepping up in remarkable ways—and amid our ongoing health and safety protocols—to take care of our on-campus community during the winter storms this week.” 

The Facilities department has continued to clear sidewalks,  pathways and roads on campus during the past several days. Despite significant staffing shortages,  many employees have been working 12 to 16 hours a day to keep campus as safe as possible and traversable.  In addition to clearing areas of campus, they have also worked to fix broken pipes, clear the roofs of dining tents and continue normal housekeeping duties throughout the week. 

Nearly 100 Campus Dining staff have also worked 12-hour days to serve a daily average of 3,500 meals to students. These have included custom-prepared meals for students with allergies or dietary restrictions and meal deliveries to students living in isolation and quarantine housing. In addition, the culinary team has offered continuous meal service, giving students all-day access to meal choices.  

More than 110 of these employees across both areas have stayed in on-campus facilities or hotels within walking distance to ensure that there are enough staff each day to continue serving the campus community. 

“This is truly an extraordinary effort, and I commend our Facilities and Dining staff for being able to quickly adjust their operations to meet the needs of the campus community,” said Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain. “I know they will work just as hard over the coming days and applaud their willingness to continue the work even after the snow has stopped falling.”

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