Campus News

Students possibly on ‘thin ice’ with pond safety

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Winter has arrived, and with it comes temperatures cold enough to freeze the two ponds on Bethel’s campus. “The ponds act as anti-flood mechanisms…they collect water during heavy rainfall and from melted snow,” said Campus Safety Officer Thomas Nyhuis. “This also means that their depth varies at times.” With the ponds frozen, however, some students enjoy walking across the pond as a means of shortcut. Some even go as far as putting their skating shoes on and using the pond as a natural skating rink. But is it safe? “I’m not concerned about the safety at all; I think the ponds are deep enough and the temperatures are cold enough to freeze the ponds completely,” said junior Krystal Kotesky, who enjoys playing ice hockey during the winter on the pond. Campus Safety has said that they are not responsible for any accidents, and signs have been posted that warn students to step onto the frozen ponds at their own risk. “We have posted the signs and we are not responsible for any accidents that may occur,” said Nyhuis. “However, we will warn small children that are not accompanied by adult supervisors.” It seems that without knowledge of how sturdy the pond is during winter, students are taking a leap of faith by stepping on it. “I don’t care,” said junior Cristine Bakke. “If there are any accidents, so be it.” Perhaps there should be a class or awareness program at Bethel that informs students on how to tell if the ice pond is safe enough to be stepped on. But there is always the Bethel Wellness Center and local 24-hour emergency clinics in the area, should the need arrive.
Many students, like the two pictured above, enjoy playing ice hockey on the ponds in the winter.
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