Whether it was a deer that got hit by a train in Kendall, or it was a blown transformer on NStar’s watch, Cambridge, and MIT, lost power at about 430pm today. It was sort of weird, especially since it was so dark outside at that point, and there were only a few emergency lights on in the Student Center through backup power, and so, the building took on an eerie state of darkness with pockets of light here and there (and importantly, in the stairwells). After a few minutes, we got word from our Campus Activities Complex folks that the outage was campus wide, and MIT Police began evacuating the building. About the same time, they were trying to get the intercom system to work, and it honestly was super creepy, because it was crackling for about 3-4 minutes, and it felt like a Zombie movie (thank goodness we are on the 5th floor of Stratton, which is a Brutalist style building and can withstand zombies or nukes).
However, already in my student affairs mind, I am hoping this outage leads us a serious discussion about our emergency plans on campus and how we keep students safe. Should there be mechanisms in place so that students can gather safely in the Student Center for light and refuge in situations like this, because their dorms (yes, we call them dorms at MIT) are without power completely? That was not happening tonight as we were evacuating students from the building, and that may have been the right decision, because there really was no well-lit place in the building. So, then, are students aware of emergency plans, or are staff aware of those plans, so that we can appropriately guide students to places that are lit and safe. I do hope that we reassess our plans that are in place, ensure that they are in working order, and if they are not, we are open to changing them and adapting to the needs of the situations we face, while keeping student safety as our utmost consideration.
In other news, Mass Ave was a hot mess, and @MBTADeer was the star of maybe the worst day for the T in a long while. The photo below, I took on the BU Bridge. Boston lit on the right, Cambridge/MIT dark on the left. Full moon on the left. I thought it was an amazing juxtaposition.