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Campus dining halls stay open in winter weather
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Brenau University students take advantage Thursday of the hot drinks section in the Yonah Hall cafeteria. - photo by NAT GURLEY

When accumulating snow is in the forecast, many people rush to the nearest grocery store to stock up on needed supplies to last for a few days.

But one sector of the population has no need to worry: college students.

“We have some gas-powered equipment in the dining hall that can be used for meal options without electrical service,” David Barnett, Brenau University’s Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer said. “Food is available.”

Dining halls on residential college campuses across North Georgia remained open, some under abbreviated hours, while winter weather bore down Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday morning.

Food service crews typically live on or near campus, and usually some students work on campus in the dining hall.

While no power outages were reported at either the Brenau or University of North Georgia locations, both were ready for the possibility.

“Should we lose both electricity and gas, for our final emergency option we also have a wood- and charcoal-fired smoker and barbecue equipment in (the) dining services area,” Barnett added. “(We could use it) to prepare meats and vegetables, and we keep wood and charcoal on hand.”

The University of North Georgia’s Dahlonega campus is the only campus with on-site residential housing.

“There are additional impacts and considerations about operations (in Dahlonega),” spokeswoman Kate Maine said. “In this particular weather situation, we received information about the potential severity of the storm and made an early notification on Monday to close the university on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Dahlonega’s cafeteria houses a large generator, which would keep operations continuing in the event of a power outage; in an extended outage, the cafeteria would be converted to a makeshift shelter for students.

Maine said many students who live on campus chose to travel home Monday before the winter weather hit, so not as many were left in the dorms and in need of the on-campus services.

On Wednesday afternoon, it was announced both Brenau and North Georgia would be closed Thursday, as well.

While the dining areas remained open, there are also other options — the dorm-room refrigerator.

“They keep some refrigerated food in their rooms and most have nonperishables and dry goods on hand for snacks,” Barnett said. “There’s a grocery store a few blocks from campus ... that they can walk to if they choose.”

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