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Power outage wrecks normal workflow in IMU 


Students sit during a power outage Nov. 8 at the Indiana Memorial Union. The power outage affected many buildings across campus. Claire Livingston

At 10:11 a.m., the power in the Indiana Memorial Union shut off.

The music, usually indistinguishable background noise, suddenly went silent, causing even those with headphones in to lift their heads up at the unexpected blackness that filled the hallways.

Freshman Kaylie Demaree had been microwaving her food, staring at her phone when the lights shut off. She glanced at the only other person in the small inlet of the IMU commons, they were both very confused.

She tapped out a message to send to the Civic Leaders Living Learning Center group chat.

“So, the IMU just lost power guys,” she said.

“IU said she was done with y’all,” replied Savannah Draher.

Her group chat, like many others on campus, went on to figure that not just the IMU, but many other buildings including Rawles Hall, SPEA and Franklin Hall did not have power.

It was later announced by IU spokesperson Chuck Carney that a substation of Duke Energy had gone out, causing power outages in 55 campus buildings.

The emergency lights came on about one minute after the black-out.

Then, the dining employees dragged a metal curtain around the main food court area and locked the openings.

Its registers were down and that meant no pizza, no drinks, no coffee, no wraps, no chips, no sushi.

“At least we got our cookies,” one student said.

Other students, not so lucky, filed into the dining area only to find it surrounded by the temporary barrier.

Their hopes of a short snack before class were dashed by a metal curtain and the empty, black screen of the registers.

“How will I get in my building if the power is out?” freshman Olivia Hall asked her friend.  

Other people who unfortunately picked a bad day to conduct a college visit, stumbled into the food court dazed and confused. They had never been in the IMU before, and this was the only place in the IMU maze they knew how to find.

Those hoping to possibly find a different source of food walked up the stairs to Starbucks, only to find they were also out of order.

Lauren King arrived before the power went out, waited in line for 10 minutes and saw the lights go out five minutes after she had ordered. The staff hadn’t gotten to her drink yet, so she had to sub her hot white chocolate mocha for iced coffee.

Another student, Cameron Crowley, arrived at the IMU after the lights went out in his Jordan Hall lecture, only to find the IMU was lacking power too.

Fortunately, he had a Diet Coke already in his bag that helped satisfy his caffeine needs.  

At 10:30 a.m., the coffee from the food court was wheeled into the coffee shop Sugar and Spice just around the corner. They had one register still working. The only register in the whole building.

Rachael Splain, retail operations manager for IMU dining and catering, was moving packaged items, including grapes and club sandwiches on top of the glass case containing the normal baked goods served in Sugar and Spice. They would attempt to move all of the grab-n-go items from the main area into one of the smaller dining areas in the IMU. Then, after about 30 minutes of shuffling, moving, placing, purchasing and scrambling, that register shut off.

The little parcels of food still leftover were then moved from Sugar and Spice into the Tudor Room upstairs, where at 11:30 a.m., they opened the doors and served free food for two hours.

The free feast included the salad bar items, a pesto pasta, coleslaw, all the desserts that had been plated, what was brought to The Globe that day, a few grab-n-go items and coffee, said Tudor Room lead manager Alex Morin.

Employees of the Tudor Room did not serve any items from the fridge and duct-taped it shut to make sure no cold air flowed from the slight opening in the side.

By 2:30 p.m., there were eight people in the IMU commons and only 20 people in the normally bustling main food court area.

The other buildings remained without power and IU stood a little bit quieter than before. The students’ knowledge of the outages remained at the mercy of the multiple IU Twitter accounts.

At 3:42 p.m., IU Bloomington tweeted that some buildings had been restored and that power would be fully restored in four to six hours.

At 4:12 p.m., Wells Library announced they would close the East Tower from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. the next day.

At 9:01 p.m., after about five hours of silence, IU Bloomington tweeted that power had been restored to campus. 

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