On May 21, 2022, Algonquin College found itself in one of the worst hit areas of the historic storm described by weather analysts as a “derecho.” Power lines were struck down, and trees were partially wrecked or pulled out of the ground, even if they were rooted under concrete and brick. Homes were ruined after being hit by debris or falling trees, and thousands were left without power for several days. The power outage had a major impact on students living in residence and in the neighbourhoods surrounding the Ottawa campus.
“Our classes were pushed back by a whole week due to the storm,” said Sadia Ahmed, a residence advisor studying Interactive Media Design. “So, we did not have that added stress of dealing with assignments alongside having no power. However, those assignments were due the same week as other work that was assigned, so the academic stress doubled the next week.”
Ahmed thought the school was very quick to respond. “Algonquin was ahead of the curve during this outage,” she said. “The residence building got their power back in three days, which is amazing because some areas of the city did not even get theirs back until last Friday.”
“During the outage, the library in E building still had power and students were able to access it when they needed to,” said Ryan Yasawy, a computer programming student. “I give the school a 10 out of 10 for handling the situation.”
“I was not in the city on the weekend when the storm hit,” said Juho Lee, another computer programming student. “But I came back on Tuesday when I found out everything was working on campus again. The Wi-Fi, the lights, everything I needed to carry on with my program was able to be used again.” With cafeteria service unavailable, many students appreciated receiving $50 vouchers from Loblaws, although some were unsure if the online offer was real (it was). “It took a bit of a stress off of us, budget-wise,” said Lee. He and others were aware that staff at the college were doing their best to handle the unprecedented situation. “We understand that several workers were trying their best to get the power back to everyone as quick as possible, so we appreciate that we got it back as quick as we did.”
Despite how much academic stress was caused by delaying classes and assignments by a week, it was seen as the right decision by many students because they were unable to finish their work during the three days without power.