Zach Steensma–Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 7th was a historic day in Dordt history. For the first time in 40 years, Dordt campus closed due to winter weather.
On the afternoon of the 6th, the impending polar vortex with its extremely cold temperatures moved Dordt’s administration to cancel the next day’s classes.
In an email to Dordt students, faculty and staff, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Howard Wilson made the historic declaration that all of campus would be closed from Tuesday night through Thursday morning, with the exception of the DiningHall, which offered two meals, and the Campus Center, noting that all classes and co-curriculars were cancelled for the entirety of the day.
Wilson cited the severe cold conditions and risk of frostbite in his announcement. At the time of cancellation, there were predictions of temperatures as low as minus 26 Fahrenheit (minus 54 with wind chill).
Every other school in the area was also closed, including Northwestern College.
In the days leading up to the cancellation, rumors circled around campus. A change.org petition—directed at administration—which expressed a desire to cancel classes garnered social media attention. The petition managed to drum up 789 online signatures.
Dordt Freshman Hannah Adams created the petition.
“Honestly, it started out as a joke,” Adams said. “I had been in and out of the cold all day and with the forecast what it was for Wednesday, I was absolutely dreading classes.” That’s when Adams made the online petition and sent it to a few of her friends.By Monday night, it had already garnered over 300 signatures.
Adams says she sent the link to a number of Dordt meme pages on Instagram hoping to rally support.
“Hearing the other students who really wanted it to work made me really want it to work,” she said.
Whether or not the petition had any actual influence on the final decision is unclear.
“This month, two separate individuals completed successful unsupported crossings of Antarctica,” Wilson said in his announcement. “Most of us haven’t had that level of preparation…we want you to keep all your fingers, toes and ears.”