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Buffalo Students Prepared to Let It Snow

November 09, 2001|From Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Jim Yoerg held up a snowbrush in front of his students.

"If you haven't familiarized yourself with one of these," he said, "get one."

The University at Buffalo offered a crash course in winter survival this week to MBA students from warmer climates who have never seen snow and are unprepared for a place where the annual average snowfall is nearly 8 feet. Most of the students taking the class were foreigners.

Yoerg, an instructor for the Automobile Assn. of America, showed a 10-minute driving video that produced nervous laughter when a snowbrush in action appeared.

When Yoerg asked students what they should have in the car, students suggested a cell phone, shovel and blankets.

Two employees from a sporting goods store walked the snow novices through the importance of layering clothing to keep warm, discussing the finer points of fleece (200 weight versus 300 weight) and the perils of down. "It will be like a cold sponge on you" if it gets wet, warned Wayne Siwicki.

The hourlong seminar left Hemant Padmanabhan, who is from southern India, looking forward to his first snow and thinking of maybe even strapping on a pair of skis. "Where I come from you have three seasons: hot, hotter and hottest," he said.

Word of last Nov. 20's record-breaking snowfall with its single-day total of nearly 25 inches had spread among the students, along with tales of motorists stranded for hours.

Marjorie Allshouse, university director of MBA recruitment, said 50% of this year's first-year MBA students are foreigners, and as many as 30% of them had never so much as seen snow.

The class attracted 24 students: one from Texas, the rest from foreign countries.

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