Massive power outage forces cancellation of all classes and operations for a second day

UP sets up charging station for student phones

By William Seekamp | February 15, 2021 8:09pm
The hallways in Mehling Hall have backup lights that go in power outages.
Media Credit: Molly Lowney / The Beacon

UPDATE 9:20 PM Feb. 15: Power has been restored to Mehling and Shipstad Hall as well as parts of the surrounding neighborhoods.

UP has canceled all operations for tomorrow, including in-person and remote classes, due to a power outage. The power went out Sunday night after a snow and ice storm that left most of campus, the surrounding neighborhoods and more than 300,000 people in the region without power.

The University has made a generator available until 10:00 PM tonight in the Beauchamp Center to both on-campus and off-campus students to charge their phones and electronic devices according to an email from Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Michael Lewellen.

Students warming up and charging their devices in the Beauchamp Center.
by Molly Lowney / The Beacon

Villa Maria hall resident Matthew Bensurto is among many students whose phone battery has been running low since the power went out last night.

“To be honest, it hit us when we least expected it, I was finishing up an essay when it happened. We thought the power would come back but it never came,” Bensurto said. “People had little charge on their phones so we had to conserve power.”

The Commons will continue to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, according to Lewellen’s email. Breakfast will be offered from 8:30 to 10:00 AM, lunch from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM and dinner from 5:00-7:00 PM. 

Students waiting in line for dinner at The Commons.

by Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

Bon Appétit has had to bring in generators to cook meals, according to  Kirk Mustain, the general manager of Bon Appétit.

"There is absolutely no power in this building," Mustain said. "We're working off of generators and using some of the gas, but we have to bring in fans... so we get the exhaust out so we're not getting a bunch of CO2 in the place.”

Refrigeration truck parked outside of The Commons.
by Ryan Reynolds / The Beacon

The power outage left one student stranded in a Mehling Hall elevator last night. 

“I was riding up the elevator and it just stopped right before my floor,” Jillian Boyle said. “I was stuck in the elevator for an hour before P-Safe was able to get the door open and I could climb out. It was definitely a little scary at first because I didn’t know what was happening.”

Freshman Jillian Boyle was trapped in the Mehling elevator for an hour after the power went out.

by Molly Lowney / The Beacon

Many students living off-campus are also struggling with no electricity, internet or cell service.

After her power went out, off-campus student Tara Fuiten had to put some of her food outside to prevent it from spoiling.

“I tried to drive to the store and barely got 10 feet,” Junior Tara Fuiten said. “After the power went out I had to put my milk out in the snow to keep it from going bad.”

If you have photos or information to share related to the situation on campus and in the neighborhood, please email William Seekamp

Havi Stewart contributed to this story. She can be reached

Ryan Reynolds contributed to this story. He can be reached at

William Seekamp is the Sports Editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at