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Strong winds, fallen tree lead to campus power outage

So what’s the best way to create community within residence halls? How about a 12-hour power outage?
 
On Oct. 7, Eastern literally shut down when strong winds knocked trees into power lines throughout the neighborhood. Students across campus were forced to find creative ways to complete homework or waste time until the electricity came back.
 
Director of Security Jim Magee said the power outage on campus was due to a tree that fell down behind the Mall Cottage.
 
Classes for the evening were cancelled and McInnis Hall, the Harold Howard Center and Warner Library were closed due to the loss of electricity.
 
The only buildings unaffected were the Eagle Learning Center and Eagle, Sparrowk, Fowler and Workman Halls. These buildings are on a separate circuit than the rest of campus, Magee said, and only experienced a few brief moments, if any, without power.
 
Having the only electricity on campus, the lounges within Sparrowk and Eagle Halls quickly became what many students referred to as “refugee camps,” with students cramming power cords and chargers into all available outlets.
 
The electricity went out about 2 p.m. and was restored early the next morning, about 3 a.m. While Magee was not sure of the exact times, he said the power was out for at least 12 hours.
 
While most students learned of the outage from simply being on campus, others found out in text messages from the new function of the e2campus alert system. The system, which was implemented a few years ago to contact students when emergency situation occur on campus, recently added severe weather alerts.
 
Magee said a message went out to those registered announcing the class cancellations and the closure of McInnis and the library. In the winter, messages will be sent whenever classes are delayed or cancelled because of snow or ice.
 
Students can also register to receive the same notifications by e-mail, if they are concerned about text message costs. However, as Magee pointed out, the e-mail alerts would not have done any good with the power out.
 
To register for the e2campus weather and emergency alerts, students should go to the Safety and Security page on the Eastern Web site. After clicking on the link, students simply need to create a username and password, submit their phone number and email address and then verify both. Students must also select if they want to receive emergency situation alerts, weather alerts, or both and for which Eastern campuses.

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