“Light’s Out:” Stories From The Power Outage


Imagine this: the lights stop working for 35 minutes in the middle of the night on a moderately warm Wednesday. That’s it… 35 minutes, mid-week, nighttime, mild weather. It would literally be impossible to design a more harmless set of conditions for a power outage. And yet, somehow, in the wee hours of morning on September 12th, several Oberlin students really managed in their own special ways to turn this nonevent into the crisis of the century. Nice. 


1st year Henry McAdams was getting ready for an exciting night at the Late-Night Heavy Machinery club when suddenly the forklift that he was charging stopped. 

Henry had this to say “people were saying the craziest shit ‘dude my high-quality excavator has stopped dead in its tracks’ and ‘bro are you kidding me I’m going to have to stop logging for the night’.” Club President Timothy Johnson said in a statement that “this is something that we hadn’t considered.” The club planned to continue their fun when the power got back on. 


3rd years Sandra and Patrick, who asked that their last names not be included in this piece, were performing a kidney transplant for the Surgery ExCo on the 4th floor of Wilder at the time. When the power shut off they weren’t able to move vital fluids from one part of the patient to the other, leaving the transferred kidney useless. Patient Amelia-Grace Bucker was frustrated by the botched operation, but continued her can-do attitude. An eyewitness said she offered support to Sandra and Patrick from the operating table, even offering them a flashlight in case they wanted to try again. Buckner said if she learned anything from the situation it was  “maybe don’t have your kidney transplants done by students, unsupervised, in the middle of the night.”


Overall, if Oberlin students learned one thing from the event, it’s that you can’t be without a flashlight. Ben Richman, the 4th-year president of the flashlight enthusiasts club, said “I don’t want to say I told you so, but I told you so.” Richman hopes that the club membership will grow after such a relevant event.  

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