As the majority of BYU community members slept comfortably in their beds early Monday morning, recovering from Thanksgiving celebrations and travels, a small group of largely unrecognized individuals braved freezing temperatures and snow to prepare the campus for the hoards of returning students, faculty and visitors.
Their mission – clear the campus pathways of snow and ice, making them safe for walkers. The task was a daunting one, because with one weekend of heavy storms, Utah broke the record for the wettest November in the state’s history.
Sunday was the snowiest Nov. 25 on record with 10.4 inches recorded at the Salt Lake airport. The record holder for snowiest day, Nov. 17, 1930, boasted 11 inches – only 0.6 inches more than Sunday’s storm.
The storm was so severe that at least 5,000 Salt Lake City homes were left without power for days.
All weekend, Utahns, along with many West Coasters, trudged and struggled their way through slush and snow.
BYU students traveling back to Provo after the Thanksgiving break were among many who had to shovel their ways home.
But the storm wasn’t just inconvenient.
The Utah Department of Transportation reported at least 200 accidents across the Wasatch Front this weekend.
The snow also flooded emergency rooms with people complaining of back injuries from snow shoveling, and injuries from slipping on the ice.
But thanks to BYU’s Grounds crew, sidewalks on campus were safe and snow-free.
At 3 a.m. Monday, Grounds workers gave up sleep and warmth to clear all the sidewalks on campus.
Sara Brown, 19, a junior from Palmyra, N.Y., majoring in English, is a secretary for Grounds. Brown estimated that up to 70 student Grounds employees sacrificed their creature comforts Monday morning to ensure the safety of the students, faculty and staff of BYU.
Although the Grounds’ raking, watering, mowing, planting and general cleanup make campus stunningly clean and attractive all year, winter is the time when the skill and dedication of the Grounds crew becomes indispensable.
On behalf of the BYU community, The Daily Universe editorial board thanks the Grounds crew for their tireless efforts in keeping campus safe and beautiful, year-round.