The past few days have been a test for everyone in the Washington, D.C. region; the consequence of over three feet of snow has made achieving normal, everyday activities very challenging.

You have all been inconvenienced by the inclement weather, but somehow you have survived, and during this process have made us all very proud of the Mason family. You have stepped up in these most difficult of times.

Knowing that there is no way to mention all the outstanding efforts of the Mason faculty, staff and students, noted are just a few of the many examples of different university efforts that far exceeded our greatest expectations:
Physical Plant/Facilities Staff: On a 24/7 basis for the past 4-5 days, these dedicated men and women plowed and shoveled unprecedented depths of snow to clear the roadways and sidewalks throughout our campuses. These staff members put aside clearing their own homes to work on our campuses. Many of the staff stayed at local hotels since commuting back and forth was not practical.

Campus Police Staff: Similarly, on a 24/7 basis the campus police department has kept the campuses safe, secure and attended to any emergencies that occurred. The university had thousands of residential students on campus and also hosted a major event, the men’s basketball game vs. VCU, in the middle of the snowstorms, which was attended by 5,486 spectators, of which 2,092 were student fans, a record total.

Housing & Dining Services: These staff members were just incredible. They found a way to keep several dining venues open for the residential students and fed all the university employees who were working around the clock every day. They not only maintained normal operations, but also ensured that adequate food was always available and also kept Ike’s Diner open until 4 a.m. every day as a way to help the students avoid cabin fever.

Student Resident Assistants and professional housing staff worked hard to plan programs throughout the days and evenings to help alleviate the cooped-up feeling.

Parking Services, Recreational & Library Staff: The staffs from these units braved the elements of the inclement weather and kept parking lots cleared, and recreational and library facilities open so the students had an option to leave their on-campus rooms to workout and study.

Regional Campuses: Thanks to the faculty and staff who worked throughout the storm to keep our regional campuses accessible, safe and allowed facilities such as the Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center to remain in operation for both the campus and general community.

Our Students: There is no way to express our gratitude to all of you for your conduct and behavior over the past few days. Despite the efforts of all of the above-mentioned dedicated staff, you were still stuck here with limited options. Boredom was always close; there were plenty of
opportunities for misbehavior.

Instead, you made the best of a bad situation, and your attitude throughout the period was nothing short of exemplary. We have heard from several of the staff that you were always gracious and very appreciative toward them and their efforts. And despite the weather you showed your true Mason spirit by showing up in record numbers for the basketball game on Tuesday.

Our Faculty and Staff: The closing makes a mess out of the academic calendar, and we will all have to work together to get it back on track for a timely commencement in May. The administrative responsibilities that had us working tirelessly prior to the closing have only increased.

We will all be digging out not only from the snow, but the backlog of work. This will inconvenience everyone, but in true Mason spirit, we will work through and persevere.

We express our deepest gratitude for the yeoman efforts of the past few days. You have exceeded our greatest expectations. Thank you so much.
It is also a time for patience, compassion and understanding. We are tired; many of us may be somewhat exasperated, others totally exhausted and most of us are feeling the strain of life’s demands on our time. The inconvenience has not fallen evenly, and some need more support and assistance than others.

Please take this time to reach out and help one another as we enter the phase of returning to work and recovering from the closing.

You make us proud to be Mason. Thank you so much!

Thank you to Broadside Editor in Chief Emily Sharrer and Managing Editor Sonya Hudson for inviting us to share these thoughts. Also to Connect2Mason Executive Editor Kevin Loker; reporter Lauren Jost; and News Editor Yasmin Tadjdeh for providing daily updates through the website and C2M twitter.

Alan Merten, President
Sandy Scherrens, VP University Life
Morrie Scherrens, SRVP