By Julia Gutsch
What better thing to do in Washington, D.C., on a cold, snowy winter day than head out to Georgetown with a few other Drake students and set up camp in a coffee shop to work on blog posts?
Today, after brunch, Hannah Olson, Kiley Roach, and I decided to head over to Georgetown to do what college students do best – consume excessive levels of coffee and bang out a few assignments. We were excited to attempt to use public transportation to get there (first the metro then a bus). This was A LOT more difficult than we expected though! After realizing almost immediately that we had boarded a bus heading the complete opposite direction, we quickly got off and took an Uber. The first place we went, Baked and Wired, had really amazing cupcakes, but not much space to actually do homework, so we decided to just go to a Starbucks. Unfortunately, right after we got there, someone told us that it closed in a few minutes, even though it was only 3pm, because of the snow. This just shows, that although Washington, D.C., is handling the steady downfall of snow a little better than I had originally expected, the snow is still scaring many places to close early to let their employees get home safely. Finally, a Georgetown student told us that Dog Tag Bakery was close by and would have a lot of seating. So, that is how we finally found the perfect coffee shop in Georgetown!
After having this extremely enjoyable day exploring Georgetown in the snow with some friends, I thought even more about a conversation Drake University students had with Drake alumni Nicole Peckumn, who works for the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. Peckumn had told us a few days earlier about all of the “behind the scenes” planning that would go into preparing Washington DC for the upcoming snow storm (the one we were seeing today). It was shocking to hear that every day her office has to work with, handle, and prepare for an average of 23 threats and hazards per day. This truly made me reflect on how there are times that we really take our safety for granted. I had never really thought about the fact that there are large teams of people who are thinking and planning so heavily for something that may seem so trivial, or even fun, in the case of the snow storm.
Peckumn also mentioned to Drake students the snow heroes program that she helps to coordinate when large snow storms, like this one, hit the city. Because the city is relatively ill-equipped to handle the snow, as they do not regularly get snow like we are used to in Des Moines, it can send many people into a panic. Especially among these groups are the elderly, who may not be able to shovel their own snow. For this reason, Peckumn organizes snow heroes that go around and shovel, for free, elderly peoples’ driveways. This is a truly amazing group in my opinion and made me think that volunteering for a group like this is a way that you can show that you really do not take your safety and organization during disasters for granted. Perhaps there is even a way a snow heroes program could be organized in Des Moines!