Bellevue College goes dark

On Thursday, July 24 at approximately 2:00 p.m., Bellevue College experienced a sudden blackout that interrupted school functions, causing the school to shut down early. A squirrel was responsible for the failure of a transformer resulting in a widespread power outage. According to a Rave alert sent out by the department of public safety at about 2:30, the college was closed to all activity with all faculty and students on campus asked to leave the various buildings on campus, regardless of what was going on at the time. The alert read “Due to power outage at main campus, classes scheduled before 5 p.m. have been cancelled.  Employees scheduled until 5 p.m. are being released.  Normal operations expected to resume at 5 p.m.”
Announced by a second Rave alert reading “Bellevue College main campus will resume normal operations – including classes, events, services & daycare – at 4:15 today. All locations are closed to all activity until then.” Normal operations wresumed 45 minutes before the original estimation.
Needless to say, the power outage disrupted almost all campus activities. Tests, homework, and according to Melantha Jenkins, Associated Student Government president, even the board of directors meeting was disrupted because of the outage. “The main thing is that ASG had their first BOD meeting last Thursday, but that one was more learning our roles and stuff like that,” said Jenkins. “This was supposed to be our first official meeting. There are some items that we have to pass, like to make sure we can move forward with some projects. We have a two week deadline before any event, so we have project plans that we need to get approved.”
Classes that were going on at the time also experienced significant disruption. James Gersch was taking a chemistry test that was severely disrupted by the blackout. “We have to turn in a formal lab report by today at 5:00 p.m. but because the electricity has gone out we can’t print out the lab and because there is no Wi-Fi I can’t contact my teacher to let her know,” said Gersch. In addition, events that were going on at the time of the blackout were also stopped. “I was in the art gallery looking at the student’s art at the time of the outage.” said Victor Houssa. “I was excited to see the amazing art, but just as I got there, there was no light. I just went in and went out.”
The outage was not completely damaging however. “The fact that today is Thursday which is technically our Friday on campus means that they’ll have plenty of time to get everything together.” said Jenkins. “There likely won’t be any effect on the campus as a whole.” Other students experienced no change in their day despite the outage. “I was in a math exam when the outage happened,” said student Shawn Jaffri. “Even though the power went out, the windows were open and we still had to finish the exam.”
In some ways the blackout may end up improving the campus as opposed to hurting it as well. “I was actually talking with one of my coworkers about generators.” said Houssa. “We don’t have power outages often, but generators would be very effective. We’re in a very troublesome area and if we had backup generators the campus could be a safe haven for those in the area. It’s kind of like a spare tire. You don’t know how useful it is until you need it.”