Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

Director's Corner

DeniseSo there's a little snow on the ground...

Being from Eastern Oregon (and no, Bend is not Eastern Oregon-it’s Central, and yes, there’s more Oregon beyond The Dalles), snow is not that big of a deal to me. Even having lived in ‘the valley’ for the past several years, I still approach it like someone who grew up at a higher elevation.  And while I always enjoy some nice fluffy ground cover, it generally does not really stop my world or add a lot of excitement to it either.

In the past week we’ve had not one but TWO skiffs of snow move across our fair city. People slid their way across campus and hopes of a closure were shared on Facebook -- for about 30 minutes. Then the sun came out, it all melted and we were left with the wet, damp world that we live with for most of the winter. 

The best thing that comes of a campus snow alert, however, is the sharing of stories: the history of great storms, the few times that the university actually did close, the daring escapades carried out by students run amok in powder and ice. One alumnus, who shall remain nameless (okay, it’s my husband John, class of ’92), shared a story about the closure of 1989. Rumor has it that it was the first time the university had closed in decades because of the weather and "some people he knew" took trays out of the cafeteria which were used as make-shift sleds in Bush Park.

For me, snow brought popularity during my student days. I drove a small Nissan pickup accessorized with railroad ties in the bed. I had the ties in the car so I was prepared for my drives across the mountains – even in May it could snow. As a result, I was one of the few in our dorm who not only knew how to drive in the snow, but had a vehicle ‘equipped’ to do so. One of the many benefits of an Eastern Oregon upbringing and significantly more useful than being able to snap bottle caps across the room with my thumb and forefinger…

So despite the brief irritation and disruption that comes with a bit of snow – and a personal eye roll from me for the attention it gets on the news – I love that it is yet one more way the campus comes together and we can share our collective memories while we work on making some new ones. Let it snow!

Denise Crawford Signature

Denise Callahan '95, MBA'00
Senior Director of Alumni Relations