Neither wind, nor rain, nor dark of night

“The Stoneleigh-Burnham campus is a different kind of place today,” according to Regina Mooney, Director of Development. If you stepped foot on Stoneleigh-Burnham for the first time ever today, you might notice a few freshly cut stumps around campus and perhaps the overabundance of leaves and twigs lying around. But if you know the campus well, if you drive or walk or ride up the driveway every day, or even just often, those fresh cut stumps represent a loss; the loss of once beloved trees, taken from us in the night during what will be remembered as the great spring storm of 2010.

All told the storm itself was a quick one, no more than a half hour of wind, rain, thunder and lightening. But the intensity of this storm left Greenfield in a state of emergency; and left Stoneleigh-Burnham without power and with a few less trees than before. Yet in the midst of chaos and downed trees, what Dr. Mooney was commenting on was less the visible state of the campus and more about the spirit of the community that emerged in the wake of the storm. Stoneleigh-Burnham has always been about community; it is at the heart of who we are; it is what we are. But it is in times of crisis when any community is tested, and Stoneleigh-Burnham passed this test with flying colors. The campus awoke to no power and resident faculty gathered students together in the Capen Room to brief everyone as to what had happened overnight.

Mr. Larson, Dean of Students, runs a morning meeting in the Capen Room to discuss the plans for the day in the aftermath of the storm.

Lucky for us their was only minimal damage done structurally; a few glass panes were broken and a golf cart was totaled. But the trees left a mess for our maintenance crew and faculty, staff and students were quick to volunteer to help with the cleanup.

Our once super cool golf cart is now crunched.

Faculty and students help with the cleanup at Fallon House.

Mark Pelis tackles a downed tree at Fallon House.

Another downed pine by the shed near the athletic fields.

Everyone was hard at work  throughout the day; picking up debris, bringing generators to a hum, planning the next few days and, of course, studying for exams. The community was forced to work within the confines of daylight, and evening brought the challenge of rushing to get everything done before the sun went down. Students and residents alike were forced to find something to do with themselves without the comforts of electricity, and more importantly, the ability to text and call their friends. While holding her cell phone and looking at it longingly, one student commented that not having reception was like, “leaving my house without shoes or money.”

But all told, we’re doing quite well, and some of us feel as if it’s business as usual (I’m writing this post from the comfort of my generator-driven office!). Classes are in session today as we head into next week with exams and graduation on Friday. Stoneleigh-Burnham showed its true colors and those colors are bright and brilliant. Nice work team!


2 Responses

  1. […] Neither wind, nor rain, nor dark of night […]

  2. […] Last spring Stoneleigh-Burnham, and the greater part of Western Massachusetts was hit with a terrible thunder storm. The school was without power for many hours and the fields and woods our girls call home were devastated with downed trees. During this time of crisis the community banded together and students, faculty and staff worked to help clean up the campus and return it to its usual beauty. To read more about the storm, check out the post here. […]

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