Monday 2 February saw the widespread closure of schools and universities across the UK, including the University of Sussex, due to the largest snow fall in 20 years. Public transport in Brighton came to a stand still, which trapped all students living on campus, and halted deliveries and many services on campus, including the library.
Those remaining on campus enjoyed snowball fights and snowman building. One student commented that ‘it was the best day ever, hardly anything was open so it was a complete break from the world, we couldn’t do anything but have fun and everyone returned to their childhood for a day.’
The snow on a hill behind Park Village turned to ice which made it suitable for ‘sledging’ down at top speed. The majority of students used creative substitutes for sledges, the most common was bin bags and baking trays, more inventive methods included a canoe, a fridge door, table tops and a giant snowball. A student commented that ‘up on the hill it was amazing, not just the view but constant laughing, and the screaming of everyone going down, it was totally magical.’
“It was the best day ever, hardly any-thing was open so it was a complete break from the world”
But the speed that could be reached on the ice slope caused plenty of collisions and a few causalities. Within the morning a student had broken their leg on slope. A first year witness told The Badger ‘there was an ambulance on the scene early on in the morning when I arrived, and eventually the fire brigade came to cut the barbed wire fence to get the student in the ambulance. It didn’t stop any of us playing though.’ Another student, Sorrell Needle, broke her arm sledging on the Park Village slope. She comments ‘I lost control on my way down and did a somersault. I fell on my wrist and had to get a taxi to hospital, but it took two hours for the taxi to arrive due to the severe weather conditions. My wrist was getting more and more swollen while I was waiting.’
Many other students saw their jobs cancelled. Jessica Stott walked to work only to find it closed: ‘I work at a school nearby and it was an amazing feeling to find out that not only work was closed, but I had no lectures either. I jumped in the snow on my way home to celebrate.’ Those students not on campus still enjoyed the day off. Joe Dyke comments that ‘I decided to write off work for the day, and organised a forty person snowball fight at The Level skate park, then had an honorary Christmas dinner. It was a day to remember.’