Breaking: Students Study by Flashlight due to Power Outage


Drew Kaplan '20

Students continuing to study in Tome Hall.

Drew Kaplan '20, Editor in Chief

A power outage affected much of the Dickinson College campus for roughly one hour tonight, from approximately 9:30p.m. to 10:25p.m.. The outage affected several buildings on campus, including those on the academic quad, residence halls located on the quads, the HUB, Tome Hall, and the Waidner-Spahr Library.

In a text message sent to Community Advisors, Area Coordinator Amber Kelly explained that “there are power outages on campus, looks like mostly quads and small houses and apartments.” The message also included a notice from the PPL corporation advising that 934 customers were affected by the outage, with an expected time of power restoration of 4:00a.m.. The text message was sent at approximately 9:52p.m..

In an email at 10:59p.m., Associate Vice President of Campus Operations Kristen Kostecky that the outage was due to an issue on the part of [the] PPL [Corporation] (PPL), the local electric company. She explained that the outage “impacted an area between North and High Streets and S[outh] West to Cherry [Streets]. The quads were the primary res[idence] halls that l[o]st power.”

Some students speculated as to the cause of the outage. Zeki Abdulhamid ’22 said “I feel like it might be accident, like a car bumped into one of the [power] poles.”

PPL could not be reached for comment.

Several students expressed frustration regarding the power outage, in large part due to the loss of power in several buildings affecting preparation for impending midterm exams. “It was annoying because I have a macro [economics] midterm tomorrow, and my textbook is online, and my homework for Spanish is also online. All the work I have to do is all online, and the wifi is out,” said Alex Ciardi ’22, “I’m probably going to fail this exam. It is going to hurt my grade.”

Keira Shoup ‘23 explained that her “chemistry homework is due tonight online at 11:59p.m.. You have to submit it before that time, and since the power went out […] now everyone’s laptops are having issues, so we probably won’t be able to submit our homework.” Shoup noted that she “also [has] an exam tomorrow.”

Katrina Faulker ’23 said she “ was really looking forward to taking a study break and getting a pretzel from the Quarry, but that’s not happening.”

Some students however did not see the power outage as wholly bad. Caroline Nilsen ’23 said the outage was “ very inconvenient, but it’s very cool to see the campus without power.”

Jocelyn Wright ’23 said  “I just wanted hot chocolate tonight. The stars look brighter now, so I’m willing to trade that.”

“I was looking forward to a nice quick trip to the D[evil’s] Den […] but at least the stars look cool,” added Brendon Subramanian ’23.

Students expressed appreciation when the power was restored. “I was fine with it because I was sitting here with my laptop,” said Larissa Babicz ‘20, “I wasn’t too affected by it, but it is nice to have it back.”

“I think that the power came on pretty promptly, added Nate Rines ’20, “I was pretty happy about that honestly. I might have lost some work, but I can’t expect more from Dickinson [College].”

“It’s kind of weird trying to study in the complete dark,” added Emily Bernstein ’23.

“It really feels like a horror movie right now” said Alexandria McKinnis ’23.

UPDATE: At 7:52a.m. the following day, Associate Dean of Student Angie Harris explained in an email that the outage had been caused by a PPL  “transformer issue, likely due to the windy conditions last night.” She continued that the outage affected every building on campus “between W[est] High St[reet] and W[est] North St[reet] and between S[outh] West St[reet] and Cherry St[reet],” and that the transformer was repaired by PPL.

“Power outages can happen, although they don’t happen often,” Harris added,  “students can be prepared by having battery operated lanterns or flashlights and battery packs for charging devices as a back up.”