As Calgarians avoided last week's extreme temperatures, going to class was the last thing on many students' minds. In the eyes of university administration, however, closing the campus due to cold or snow is not a possibility.
While many universities have policies for "snow days" and blizzards, the University of Calgary is hesitant to let a little white stuff get in the way of normal operations.
"It is very difficult to 'close' the campus, given the residences, research activities and wide range of university facilities," said U of C Registrar David Johnston,
adding there are rare exceptions. "We did reschedule three exams last April due to a snow storm, but this hadn't happened in 20 years, so it was a rare occasion."
While exams may not have been cancelled in a decade or two, Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz remembers five years ago, classes were cancelled due to a St. Patrick's Day blizzard. However, he stressed the campus remained open.
"As many services as possible were open and some students still came to study," he explained.
Overall, closing campus is no small decision.
"The decision to cancel exams or classes--or close the campus-- is made by the Vice-President Academic in consultation with the Registrar, the Campus Safety Officer, Campus Security and others," said Johnston.
Campus Security reports on the conditions of the university grounds.
"We have officers on patrol... so we'd be able to give an indication of how bad the roads are, how deep snow is in the parking lots, that sort of thing," said Fritz.
The U of C remains open as often as possible, partly because some students will still show up in extreme weather, but also because course material needs to be taught.
During extreme winter conditions, the Calgary Board of Education also tries to keep as many schools open as possible for parents who need their children supervised.
By minimizing the number of cancelled days, the university attempts to minimize the chance that students' grades may suffer.