At around 9 p.m. on Aug. 29, Binghamton University was plunged into darkness as a blackout took down most of the lights on campus.
According to WBNG.com, the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation (NYSEG) said the blackout was caused by a raccoon crawling into one of the substations. The raccoon was also reported to have died due to the incident.
The blackouts affected both BU’s campus and the surrounding areas, and WBNG reported that over 10,000 customers were without power. NYSEG said it restored power within one hour of the blackout.
Greg Botwinick, a freshman majoring in business administration, said that the power outage extended past campus and onto Vestal Parkway.
“I was with friends getting stuff from Target, and we were about to go to Walmart, but as we pulled into the parking lot, everything shut off,” Botwinick said. “I had to make a left out, and there were no lights, so we were driving down real slow. Everyone was driving really slow, and waiting to make turns out of other shopping centers. It was kind of scary.”
On campus, the blackout took out almost every light save for a few in the Admissions Building and some outdoor lights.
Arielle Schlissel, a freshman majoring in psychology, was in her room when the power went out.
“We were in our dorm doing homework, and all of a sudden the lights went out,” Schlissel said. “We originally thought it was just the sensor, but then we got up and nothing turned back on. I looked outside and it was dark, and then we heard doors opening so we went out and looked in the hallway. Everyone else was coming out and trying to see what was going on. The [resident assistant (RA)] came out and said, ‘Leave your doors open, don’t go in the elevator.’ At that point it was two minutes in and no one really knew what was happening.”
During the blackout on campus, many students congregated in outdoor spaces. On the Dickinson Quad, students played music on their instruments, crowd surfed from the top of The Object, formed a mosh pit while music blared from a speaker and sang and danced along to “YMCA.”
Robert Davidson, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering, joined the other student musicians and played the saxophone for crowds on the Dickinson Quad during the blackout.
“I just came out here to jam with my friends, but there was a player out there with an accordion, and they asked me to go play with them,” Davidson said. “The crowd was already here, and they just ushered me on and then gave us requests, and we hopefully gave them a good time.”