A furry rodent told us last week to expect at least six more weeks of winter, and though this winter has been a mild season, one can never be too prepared to ward off the cold. When the temperatures drop, students and faculty still tough it out and fight the elements, whether they are rain, wind or snow, to navigate campus.
According to Kathy Benson, a registered nurse and the health service administrator at Concordia College, a few students show symptoms of frost bite each year due to spending excess time outside without being properly clothed for the weather.
“Trying to look practical, not beautiful, is the first step,” Benson said, claiming that she sees too many girls wearing high heels or students not wearing hats or ear-coverings during bouts of extreme cold.
She suggested keeping your feet, hands, ears, nose and head covered (in addition to the rest of your body, of course) when walking around campus or to and from nighttime activities and to always be prepared for the elements, whether walking or driving to your destination.
“Frostbite is very severe,” Benson said. “It is not something to mess with.”
On top of dressing appropriately (that means no miniskirts, even if you are wearing it with Uggs, ladies), there is a variety of ways to cut down your time outside while navigating campus.
Route 1: East Complex to Olson Forum
There are two options for this trek – take the newly-opened skyway or brave the brutal north winds, slick ice patches and Minnesota drivers outside. While the skyway is a new treat to East Complex and Townhomes dwellers, it is rumored to take less time if one walks outside, which is likely why students are seen without gloves, hats and proper outerwear speed-walking grandma-style and dodging cars on their way to class. Because I like walking inside but manage to always take a shower that is a bit too long, making me late, I decided to test this theory and see if it truly does take longer in the skyway. Wearing Uggs and a winter coat while carrying a backpack (approximately 15 lbs.), it took me 2 minutes and 24 seconds to take the skyway, whereas the outside route took 1 minute and 39 seconds. (Please note: I waited approximately 10 seconds on both corners for the walk signal and was not hit by any cars being driven by elderly Minnesotans.) In the grand scheme of things, 45 extra seconds of walking in the scenic and toasty skyway doesn’t seem like much of a sacrifice.
Route 2: Olson Forum to Knutson Campus Center
Option 1: You just finished working out, and you need to go to Knutson. Do you a) again, battle the blustery blast of north wind all the way past the bell tower and Carl B. Ylvisaker Library, or b) take the “tour de science academia” and cut through Jones and Ivers? The difference is a mere 59 seconds, as the straight shot takes 2 minutes and 49 seconds and the warmer option takes 3 minutes and 48 seconds. However, while the inside route may save you the feeling in your fingers and toes, be cautious of crazed biology students, taxidermy animals and lab mice, as all are possible sightings on this adventure.
Option 2: You just enjoyed a theme meal at Dining Services, and you want to go for a swim (not waiting a half hour after eating? You rebel.) You can either walk outside or take the aesthetically pleasing route past the library and through the Francis Frasier Comstock and Olin (there is even a flight of stairs involved, to help you work off your three trips to Bliss). This route, which takes you through the art exhibit and the short skyway allows for 1 minute and 51 second creative break in your day. Biology majors, do not be scared to take this route and have your horizons broadened while avoiding cold-related illnesses. The theatre majors will not bite, though they may be talking to walls.
Route 3: Carl B. Ylvisaker Library to Bishop Whipple
It may seem that the obvious face-saver is to walk through Knutson, Academy, and Grose, but on a time crunch, this may not be the safest bet. Not only must you take into consideration the pathway to ice ratio on this main drag, but also the time at which you wish to make this venture. During lunch time (11:40-1:20), one must prepare to be accosted by friends, people soliciting involvement at booths, the smell of Maize fries and the temptation to check one’s mail before even hitting the stairs. Without distraction, inside takes 1 minute and 25 seconds, whereas outside takes 2 minutes and 14 seconds, but the risks are quite high on the former. Choose wisely.
Route 4: Park Region to Knutson
This is perhaps the most brutal trek of all, as there is no stopping point or inside option on the entire 1 minute and 53 second walk. In fact, aside from the risks of frostbite and hypothermia, if there is blowing snow or fog, one risks running face-first into Ole and Lena or even veering so far off the path as to end up in Prexy’s Pond. According to Benson, wearing wet clothing or shoes exponentially increases one’s risk of frostbite, so this journey should be taken cautiously and only by those who are prepared.
On any route to any destination, Benson also pointed out that alcohol greatens one’s chances of getting frostbite, not only because it dehydrates the skin, but it also hinders judgment of safety factors and precautions. Avoiding frostbite is just another reason to have a designated driver.
While staying in bed watching Netflix seems ideal some days, it is not always an option. When you go out, remember: be prepared, be strategic and be clothed (appropriately).
Position at the Concordian: PULSE writer; Year in School: Sophomore; Hometown: West Fargo, North Dakota; Favorite Newspaper: The Washington Times; Favorite Magazine: Vanity Fair; Favorite Writer: Jodi Picoult