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The Student News Site of Elgin Community College


The Student News Site of Elgin Community College


The Student News Site of Elgin Community College


Coach Bill Angelo
ECC Baseball Coach Nears 30th Season

Bill Angelo is entering his 27th season as ECC’s baseball head coach. He has had nearly 820 wins since...

Coach Bill Angelo
ECC Baseball Coach Nears 30th Season

Bill Angelo is entering his 27th season as ECC’s baseball head coach. He has had nearly 820 wins since...

Weathering the Storm: Student Experiences in Recent Winter Conditions

Snow falls at the Algonquin Commons on January 13, 2024.

First-year student America Ocampo’s friend began to feel her car acting ‘weird’ halfway through her fifty minute morning commute on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.

“She was on her way to (Northern Illinois University) and she pulled over to call her mom about it and to tell her she was headed back home instead,” said Ocampo. “When she turned the car on again, it stopped working.” 

She called her brother, and he went out to help her; but her insurance company didn’t answer her calls for another six hours. 

“When (the tow truck) finally came, it was dark and even colder,” said Ocampo. “If she didn’t have her brother, she would have sat in her car, broken down, without any warm heat.”

According to Accuweather, the Midwest faced two major storms bringing heavy snow, drenching rain and high winds on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 and Friday, January 12, 2024. The second storm brought blizzard conditions including plummeting temperatures and two waves of snowfall. Hampshire saw the sixth highest snowfall in the state on Friday at 11.6 inches. 

A few days later, a large portion of the U.S. faced bitterly cold temperatures for several days following a polar vortex surge according to the National Weather Service. A ‘multiday stretch of bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills’ was highlighted from Sunday, January 14, 2024 to Wednesday, January 17, 2024. The coldest temperature observed was -16 °F in Rockford with wind chill of nearly – 40 °F. 

Due to the weather conditions, ECC closed all campus locations from Friday, January 12, 2024 through Tuesday, January 16, 2024. This resulted in the cancellation of the first day of in-person classes. 

These weather events have made commutes increasingly difficult and dangerous. 

Second-year student Veronica Stefanescu was on her way to work when she saw the car in front of her drive off the road. 

“I watched the car ahead of me slowly lose control and crash into a tree,” Stefanescu recalled. “I was driving on Tyrell (Road) in the snowstorm (of January 12).”

Extremely worried for the driver, Stefanescu checked to see if he was okay. 

“I slowed down, drove past him and he waved me along and gave me a thumbs up,” Stefanescu said. “He was on the phone with someone and definitely calling for help.”

While the driver was okay, Stefanescu remained startled by the event. She had been driving to work early to cover for a coworker whose dad had also gotten into a car accident that same day. 

Ocampo faced car issues herself during the freezing temperatures. 

“My car wouldn’t turn on at one point and it was the day before the semester started,” said Ocampo. “It made me really nervous because I need it to get to school.”

Ocampo’s dad was available that day to give her a ride but that would not always be the case.

“He isn’t always there so it would really inconvenience me getting to classes,” said Ocampo. “I’d have to pay a lot of money for an Uber or a taxi, which would end up being twenty minutes away.”

According to Uber Fare Finder, an UberX from Streamwood to Elgin Community College would cost $17.76 one way during non-surge pricing. 

Since the storms, both Ocampo and her friend’s car’s have begun working again. Still, her friend is taking precautionary measures. 

“(She) is using her dad’s (car) now just to avoid any more issues, especially with getting to school,” said Ocampo. 

There are several resources available providing information on winter weather safety and more. is a national public service campaign featuring extensive information on preparation, response and mitigation of a vast array of emergencies and disasters. 

This past season, they launched their #WinterReady campaign which seeks to educate on winter risks and steps you can take now to prepare. 

Any preventative measures taken for the winter are also applicable throughout the rest of the year in different kinds of weather. 

“It is one of those where this isn’t just a seasonal little thing,” said ECC’s Emergency Management Administrator Stephen Stassen. “We always have hazards and things that we should be preparing for and taking the time to do those things to help yourself and others out is the best thing that you can do.”

Students needing a jump start on campus can contact ECC Police for assistance by dialing *7778 from an on-campus phone or 847-214-7778 from their cell phone.

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About the Contributor
Shayndel Valles
Shayndel Valles, Digital Editor
Hi! My name is Shayndel Valles and I am a second-year marketing student here at ECC. I love graphic design, sewing, traveling, and all things happy. After I graduate this spring, I plan on taking a gap year abroad before attending Loyola University Chicago. I look forward to continuing to work with the Observer and being involved in our community!

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