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Fuse breaks, school aches

From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., a power outage makes cooking food at 91.3 Wok impossible. (Peter Fiorilla / News Editor)
From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., a power outage makes cooking food at 91.3 Wok impossible. (Peter Fiorilla / News Editor)

Most of campus suffered a power outage starting at 12 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12, with the affected facilities including The Atrium at Eickhoff and the Lion’s Den during the brunt of meal equiv.

The cause of the outage is still under investigation, but the College currently believes it was caused by a blown fuse.

“This is what we believe happened. An extended brownout with PSE&G electrical service caused a fuse to blow on three of our on-campus electrical feeders,” said David Muha, vice president of communications, marketing and brand management. “This caused thetemporary power disruption until facilities staff could implement repairs.”

Dining options on campus became limited  as a result: Preparing new food was impossible, and some students couldn’t get into The Atrium.

“I thought Eick would be open by the time I got there in the afternoon, so I was annoyed that the workers told me told to go somewhere else for lunch,” freshman biomedical engineering major Rose LoPiano said. “My friends and I went to the Lion’s Den, only to realize that it was closed as well. By the time we went to the Education Cafe and waited on line, meal equiv was already over, they ran out of turkey wraps and I wasted a good part of my afternoon searching for food.”

Students that did get into Eickhoff also had limited options, as the overhead blowers — which remove fumes from the kitchens, making it safe to cook — and dish machines stopped working altogether, according to  Eickhoff supervisor Steve Gallagher.

“Once those are done, we’re dead,” Gallagher said. “All of a sudden a couple thousand people are hungry, and it’s controlled chaos.”

Stations such as the Omelette Bar, C-Street Grill and 91.3 Wok were temporarily shut down, with the latter re-opening at around 5 p.m., according to Gallagher. 

The Atrium served the food that was already cooked, though, and there were several other options for students in need of a quick lunch fix.

“Dining Services was able to operate the Library Cafe, School of Education Cafe, and the 1855 Room without service interruption,” Muha said. “The Atrium at Eickhoff was able to maintain operation of service using food maintained in heating cabinets prior to the power outage.”

The electrical problem was solved at around 1:30 with the help of PSE&G, according to the College’s Twitter account, at the very end of meal equiv — disrupting many students’ lunch plans.

“I think it would be a nice gesture for TCNJ to reimburse some students who were unable to use their meal equiv today,” LoPiano said.

The electrical problem affected nearly all residencies, a handful of academic buildings, the Spiritual Center, Packer Hall, parking garages, athletic fields and the Rec Center.


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