Snowstorm leaves students stranded

By Maria Tortorello

“The storm of the century” affected thousands of people around the country, including several people from NIU.

Many spring-breakers were stranded on the road home or where they were staying for Spring Break because of the snowstorm and cold front which hit the eastern and midwestern parts of the country.

Freshman Steve Balhan was on vacation in Daytona Beach, Fla. with some of his friends and decided to leave for home Friday.

The blizzard closed Interstate 75 from Chattanooga, Tenn. to Atlanta leaving Balhan and his friends stranded on the closed road for hours.

“Our car was stuck for 14 hours,” Balhan said. “We ended up spending the night in a National Guard Armory with 350 other people.”

As a result, Balhan did not get back to DeKalb until 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

Freshman, elementary education major Cadin Tobin also was delayed in returning to NIU because of the storm.

Tobin got a ride to West Palm Beach, Fla. with five other students from NIU. The storm forced the group Tobin vacationed with to stay in West Palm Beach because the road which they were supposed to take home was closed.

Since she would be missing too many classes, Tobin decided to fly home and returned to DeKalb on Tuesday evening.

“It was very much an inconvenience,” Tobin said. “We paid $387 to fly home. There went my tax return.”

The storm also caused students to miss several classes.

“I missed four classes and got so far behind,” Balhan said. “It took me two days to catch up.”

Tobin missed six classes, but did not get too far behind.

“They were big lecture classes I missed,” Tobin said. “So I could catch up with the notes easily,” she said.

Several departments on campus received phone calls from students and teachers who were unable to attend class because of the storm.

Jean Nellans, a receptionist in the English department, received several of these phone calls.

“I received at least eight to 10 calls from students,” Nellans said. “Sometimes it was the parents and even two instructors who could not come in.”

Because some teachers were unable to come in, some classes were cancelled.

“We may have had to cancel a couple of classes,” Nellans said.