UPDATE: Ferris cancelled all classes on the Big Rapids campus for Thursday, Jan. 31, due to the dangerously cold temperatures.
Ferris students witnessed history this week as the university called their first snow day since 2013 Monday, Jan. 28.
Even more of a record breaker, the university cancelled all classes again Wednesday, Jan. 30, due to the severe weather. Historically, Ferris hasn’t been known to be liberal with their snow days.
“It’s been terrible, it’s been so cold. Today, I trudged through the snow and it was thigh high. I was so cold,” Ferris hospitality management junior Emily Vantimmeren said. “I slid through a stop sign last week.”
According to the National Weather Service, Big Rapids received about 8 inches of snow since Monday. In addition, the area has been experiencing dangerously cold temperatures, with wind chills between –15 and –20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Commuters across campus were pleased with how Ferris handled the situation, although many students reported wishing they had gotten Tuesday off as well.
“I was hoping for no school,” Ferris pre-dental freshman Ava Sousa said. “I actually haven’t driven this week; I’ve been taking the bus. It’s a lot safer. It’s a little scary coming up here because I’m not in control, but it’s a lot better than coming up here myself. You never know what could happen. I could spin off.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency Monday due to the forecasted extreme weather conditions. The state of emergency was declared to help address threats to public health and safety. This allowed jurisdictions across the state easier access to increased resources.
According to the National Weather Service, there is a wind chill warning in effect in Mecosta County until 1 p.m Thursday, Jan. 31. Frostbite can occur to exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.
“This week is really reminding us that we’re in Michigan. We’re going to get some cold weather,” Ferris Department of Public Safety Chief of Police Bruce Borkovich said. “Dress in several layers, wear appropriate foot gear. Sometimes it can take just a few minutes of exposure to start frostbite. We all should be used to Michigan and the unpredictability of our weather.”
Weather of this extremity reminds many Big Rapids residents of the famous 1978 blizzard. The story around campus is that the snow storm was so severe that the university cancelled classes. Students bought out all the liquor in town on their day off, and Ferris pledged to never let another snow day happen again.
While many factors of this story are true, according to Bob Grunst, the owner of Grunst Brothers Party Store, the alcohol never truly ran out.
“That’s the rumor. We did not sell out. That’s always been thrown out there. I don’t know if some of the smaller places did, but we did not.” Grunst said.
Grunst remembered students bundled in hats, scarves and gloves. He even recalled a few students who had made the trip in toboggans. The town was buried deep in 30 inches of snow, according to a 2010 Torch article by Dan Hamilton.
Grunst said the students who came asked for their liquor to be double bagged, as they planned to sneak it back into the dorms.
“Everything they bought, they bought 24 packs because you couldn’t have beer in the dorms,” Grunst said. “That’s why Ferris said they would never close. They had so many people living on campus. They said they would never ever close Ferris again. They had so much damage because of all the partying in the dorms. Now that everyone lives off campus, they don’t care.”
Click here to see some photos from Monday’s snow day.