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7 Natural Disasters That Wouldn’t Close PSU

1. Blizzard
Last week, Penn State already showed everyone its ability to spit in the face of Jack Frost. The question then is how PSU would fare in the worst conditions. The coldest day ever on record for the state of Pennsylvania was Jan. 4, 1905 at a bone-chilling 42 degrees below zero. This one is a no-contest. Most buildings on campus have functioning heating and students produce enough body heat that Penn State wouldn’t be burdened with increased heating bills. As far as snow is concerned, the highest snowfall ever recorded in North America was 76 inches over 24 hours in Silver Lake, Colorado in 1921. A friend of mine is 6 feet 5 inches tall. Any way you look at it, the math doesn’t support any kind of closing.

2. Severe Lightning Storms
Lightning can be pretty scary, as it has been known to start fires, kill people, and seriously disrupt my wireless internet connection. Surely, Penn State would close in the face of possible death? To quote meteorologist Lee Corso: Not so fast, my friend. Lightning has reportedly  killed an average of 58 people annually for the past 30 years. Even if Mighty Zeus himself hurled lightning bolts at everyone walking on campus, only 10% of lightning victims are killed. The remaining 90%  would just need to walk it off and get to their ENGL 015 class. Remember, attendance counts.

Earthquakes are a tough one. They run a wide range of flavors after all. You wouldn’t even notice anything below about a 2 on the Richter Scale. A 3 is equal to a passing truck, a 4 may break windows and a 5 may knock over furniture. A 6 would cause damage to poorly built structures, like a shed or the steps in the Forum building. A 7 would displace building foundations and crack underground pipes. Closing starts to seem like a vague possibility at an 8, where all buildings are destroyed, but learning outside in the grass can be a pleasant experience. Visible waves of earth moving occur during a 9, but our years of practice performing the wave at Beaver Stadium would render closing unnecessary.

Tie some weights to your feet and wear a jacket, you whiners.

5. Epidemic
There are anti-bacterial soaps in washrooms across campus. Nice try.

6. Meteor Impact
What if the cosmos themselves were determined to bring classes to a halt? There is no way classes would continue in the face of the sky literally falling on us. Right? When it comes to not cancelling classes at PSU, never say never. Most astronomical material in space burns up before it can cause damage to Earth. Given the large water-to-land ratio, it is also likely the oceans would play the catcher’s mitt. At the very least, America only occupies a small amount of our planet. We’d definitely hold a bake sale or indie music benefit if Australia was flattened by a meteor, but it’s absurd to think school would stop. For the sake of argument, let’s assume a meteor about the size of the one that caused the Chicxulub impact that killed off the dinosaurs smashed State College. That momma was 105 miles in diameter and caused drastic climate shifts. Needless to say, we’d all be killed and human life as we know it would likely face extinction. World Campus students would still need to turn in their homework on time. ANGEL drop boxes show no mercy to mass extinctions.

7. The Apocalypse
Ok, there is absolutely, positively, no way classes would occur in the wake of Doomsday, you might think. By its very nature, there would be no one left to proctor finals. Don’t be so hasty. Like earthquakes, there are many members of the Judgement Day family. A nuclear holocaust would be traumatic for most, but the mutated parodies of mankind left would have plenty of appendages to finish that essay with. Penn State would likely hedge their bets on getting the “Dawn of the Dead” brand of undead zombie outbreak, in which case classes would go on as scheduled since zombies can’t work card readers and would starve to death if they were quarantined to East Halls. So then, we are left with the typical 4 Horseman scenario. Pestilence would be foiled as explained above and Famine is easily taken care of by frequent deposits into Meal Plans, which would happen anyway. War sounds scary enough but I’m sure throwing enough tuition money at the problem would make it go away. Even Death wouldn’t upset Old Main. Remember, they’ve never canceled classes because of it before. Its all about precedent, people. Finally, the Devil would be curtailed by the violin players from the College of Arts and Architecture. Their parents will be the proudest of all come graduation atop Lucifer’s towering mountain of skulls.

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About the Author

John Dempsey

John is a Junior majoring in Journalism from Hazleton, PA. He is so awesome that sharks dedicate a week to him.
Likes: Video games, vigilante justice, irony, talking bears, Burt Reynolds, El Chupacabra, coloring books, chainsaws, and Australians.
Dislikes: Zombies, clowns, zombie clowns, turtleneck sweaters, Apple, poor mustache grooming, nuclear winter, Roman architecture, guacamole, robots, LCD TVs, the color yellow, Velcro, ceiling fans, sprinklers, tornadoes, Belgians, squat thrusts, and romantic comedies.

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