Power outage: Making light of an inconvenient situation


Photo: Kelsey Kremer/Iowa State

People visiting Iowa State for orientation had to relocate from a lecture hall to the Business Cafe in the Gerdin Business Building on Tuesday, June 19, due to a power outage. Several orientation activities were relocated, and the evening sessions were ultimately canceled for the night. According to the university, orientation actvities will continue as scheduled tomorrow, Wednesday, June 20.

Anna Bellegante

Lights flickered and returned to normal. But a few moments later — total darkness.

This was a common scenario for people all over Ames due to the citywide power outage Tuesday, June 19. For those involved in new student orientation, the temporary blackout posed some challenges.

Incoming student Nicole Baker said she was on the sixth floor of Ross Hall getting to know her fellow history majors when the lights went off in the windowless room. Baker said she was not bothered by the darkness and thought it was kind of funny. Everyone in the room just used the light from their cell phones and carried on.

Incoming freshman Kurtis Chicoine, studying civil engineering, shared a similar experience. Chicoine was in Marston Hall learning how to register for classes when the power went out. The presentation continued despite the lack of electricity. For Chicoine, the darkness was not so much of a nuisance as was the heat. Chicoine and his parents had planned on staying in Ames overnight, but with the rest of the orientation activities canceled, they decided to drive back home to Des Moines to sleep in the welcomed air conditioning.

“It was a really fun orientation, but I’m glad the same thing didn’t happen today [Wednesday],” Chicoine said.

For Cyclone Aide Mackenzie Sissel, sophomore in mechanical engineering, the power outage was not a major issue for orientation. Sissel was in the Howe Hall atrium setting up for family coffee when the lights went out and the backup generators came on. Sissel did what any engineer would do and discussed problem solving strategies with her fellow aides while waiting for updates from her supervisor.

“The orientation staff here and New Student Programs did a fantastic job of making sure families got what they needed out of orientation,” Sissel said.

Even though certain orientation activities were canceled and many families staying in Maple Hall transferred to hotels off campus, Sissel said everything went smoothly. Day two of orientation tends to be more open for families to explore campus, so the process of moving some of the previous day’s canceled sessions to the following morning was “seamless.”

“This is just one example of what we do here at Iowa State,” Sissel said. “We make the best of things, and just keep on going.”