The prophecy for flooding in Quebec has been fulfilled. Each year, students at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec, anticipate whether or not the annual thaw will bring the postponement of final exams. This year, as in many years before, their prayers were answered…or not.
The Massawippi River runs right alongside the campus at Bishop’s, and during the spring and summer months, serves as a canal for students to float down on inflatable rafts with various refreshing beverages to keep themselves cool. In the fall however, the mighty shores of the Massawippi, are an incredibly unpredictable phenomenon.
Photo Credit: Twitter
The water levels have been known to rise by several feet in a matter of minutes in the narrow portion of the river, which runs along the west side of the campus. The tributary then runs into the St. Francois river, which as a result of snow melting and heavy rainfall in the region lately, has risen to over six meters!
The paddling started early this year as some dedicated students, already preparing for the ‘Spring School’ season, were forced to inflate their rafts early in order to make it to, or from campus! With classes suspended and several streets closed in the community of Lennoxville, this years’ graduating class may just be able to enjoy being a part of the ‘Purple and Silver’ community, for a few extra days. Some students, are taking full advantage of their unexpected time off, by doing things that few people would even think about doing in their situation.
Not every University in Canada would see a body of water as a symbol of the times, but for these students, it is a sign of what it really takes to be a Bishop’s attendee. Whether it is the flood indicating the start of Spring School, the swan song swim after the final class, or the customary return to the rapids with a vengeance at Convocation in August, the importance of the river is that it has created a culture that those who are not a part of, struggle to understand. You’ve got to be a Gaiter, to get it.
The river is currently flowing high and heavy around the city, carrying with it chunks of ice and broken tree branches. Public safety authorities in Sherbrooke, Que., have issued a flooding alert for part of the city, and with more rain in the forecast, it is expected that the water levels in the Saint-François River and other bodies of water in the region could climb even higher and force further evacuations. This might seem frightening and worrisome to many experiencing this from afar. The students however, embrace the challenge, and appreciate the power that the Massawippi River casts over the student body and faculty at Bishop’s University each and every year.
Photo Credit: Facebook
So raise a toast, to the Canadian University students, who transform adversity into a way of life, one natural disaster at a time.