The Campus Chronicle
Vol. XVIII, Issue 10
for the Amherst campus of the University of Massachusetts
November 1, 2002

 Page One Grain & Chaff Obituaries Letters to the Chronicle Archives Feedback Weekly Bulletin

 Page One Grain & Chaff Obituaries Letters to the Chronicle Archives Feedback Weekly Bulletin





Letters to the Chronicle

Grounds staff gearing up for winter's worst

Winter is here again (although it's a little earlier than usual)! Snow removal is one of Grounds Management's major responsibilities during the winter. Our employees work long hours in harsh conditions to ensure the safety of the campus community. Physical Plant Grounds Management and Academic Custodial employees -- who do the lion's share of snow plowing and shoveling -- and other Physical Plant workers, Housing Services employees, and many others, all respond quickly and efficiently to clean the campus of snow and ice.

They clear miles of roadways and sidewalks, and shovel and sand thousands of steps. They work nights and 16-hour shifts; many of our employees don't see their families for days during serious storms.

We clear snow from most walkways on campus, but some are what we term "three-season walkways" -- stone, gravel, or narrow walks provided to the campus community for their convenience during the spring, summer, and fall. These walkways aren't cleared in the winter.

We will continue to experiment with an innovative, environmentally safe de-icing agent called Ice Ban Magic (now called Ice B'Gone). The main ingredient in Ice B'Gone is Ice Ban, a byproduct of distilling plants in the Midwest, which manufacture beer, other alcoholic beverages, and ethanol. It consists mainly of carbohydrates, protein, fat, and sugar, and is also used as a cattle feed substitute that looks and smells like molasses. Ice B'Gone, the product UMass Amherst is using, is a mixture of Ice Ban and magnesium chloride.

Snow removal is a significant and many times a thankless responsibility. It's easy to second-guess us; we're not perfect. But it's a complex task I believe we handle with the utmost professionalism and responsibility. Plowing miles of sidewalks and roadways is a challenging task. With snow flying, it's often difficult for our plow operators to see pedestrians. So for your own safety, please keep a safe distance from plows to allow our staff plenty of room to clear snow and ice.

Snow removal will take a little longer this year due to staff cutbacks, so please be patient. The next time you step out in to the harsh winter of New England -- and after all, we do live in New England -- remember we are doing all we can to ensure your safety.

Thank you for your understanding and patience again this winter.

acting assistant director,
Grounds Management,
Physical Plant

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