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Snowless winter frees resources, allows for building improvements

While many sophomores must resign themselves to the cold reality of an indefinitely postponed Nude Olympics, at least the Department of Grounds and Building Maintenance officials can enjoy a sizeable budget surplus thanks to this winter's warm weather.

According to Grounds and Building Maintenance Grounds Manager James Consolloy, maintenance personnel typically spends much of the winter season plowing snow and repairing damage caused to University facilities by cold weather.


Consolloy explained that a normal amount of snow during the course of a winter costs the University approximately $180,000. That money is spent on "overtime wages, equipment maintenance, supplies and fuel, among other things," Consolloy said. "During that really bad winter two years ago, we spent double that."

Positive effects

The winter's unseasonable warmth allowed Consolloy's department to complete many winter projects they had been putting off for several years, including landscaping on Ivy Lane and near Quadrangle Club.

Consolloy said the mild winter had a positive fiscal impact as well. "It was quite beneficial. There was no overtime necessary. We didn't have to call in our three snow-removal contractors," he said. "There was much less wear and tear on our equipment. We spent zero dollars on sand and salt, and there were no added fuel costs."

According to Consolloy, the money saved will go towards building maintenance. "The surplus will be in operating money that will be spent on buildings – not on the outside," he explained. "It will go toward the replacement of windows, doors and floors."

Provost Jeremiah Ostriker and USG president David Ascher '99 had different ideas for how the extra money could be spent.

"I'd like to make a modest proposal to use some of the savings to bring people down from New Hampshire or Vermont with snow-making machines, so that the sophomores can still have the Nude Olympics," Ostriker quipped.


Ascher suggested that the extra money be given to the USG Projects Board, or put towards building a "real theater."

Other Impacts

Princeton University Store saleswoman Mary Anne Garinger said sales of cold weather clothing have been average this year. "What we had to do was really mark them down, but I think we sold about everything. All you really need is one cold day and everyone comes in to buy gloves and hats," Garinger said.

McCosh Health Center Director Pamela Bowen cited some of the more negative impacts of the warm weather on health.

"We are seeing an early beginning to the allergy season this year. It is predicted to be one of the worst allergy seasons ever," she said. "There was no real hard frost to kill off all the molds and fungi."

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While Ascher said the weather led to higher turnouts for USG events, such as study breaks and open meetings, he still described the snowless winter as "a shame."

"When I'm away from campus, I think about buildings covered with snow, about the Nude Olympics and about long walks to class trudging through the snow," Ascher said.

"We've had none of those things this year."