Campus safety in winter

Snow has been falling quickly this past week with plenty more snow to come over the next few months — and let's not forget that freezing rain is also a possibility.

The Grounds Staff is always busy keeping the university grounds clear through the winter so that students, faculty, staff, researchers and visitors can move safely around our campuses. Here’s how they make that happen.


University of Alberta Grounds Staff is divided into two groups:


  • Clear snow and ice from roads, sidewalks, parking lots, loading docks and morel
  • Drive the front end loaders, bobcats, sand trucks or graders
  • May work up to 20+ days in a row when conditions deteriorate!

Area staff

  • Clear doorways, outdoor stairwells, paraplegic ramps, narrow walks and more
  • These gatekeepers keep everyone safe and mobile

U of A Grounds Staff works alongside additional Facilities and Operations teams, University Services and Finance and U of A's insurance partners, CURIE, to help ensure U of A campuses are safe for the community.


How do we prioritize what areas are cleared?

Under City of Edmonton bylaws, we can’t make any noise that affects the surrounding neighbourhood too early in the morning, so we work from the core of our campuses outwards, concentrating on major roads and walkways.

What about freezing rain?

Freezing rain has presented us with more challenges in recent years. We need to treat all of our hard surfaces as quickly as possible. Like with snow, we work on the major roads and walkways first and then secondary walkways. We recommend avoiding shortcuts and staying on recognized walkways.

It can take anywhere from 4 to 6+ hours to cover all of campus when treating surfaces after freezing rain.


When snow is falling

Be aware and watch your step!

Watch the weather conditions and give yourself extra time to get across campus! Use handrails where possible!

Waddle like a penguin!

Walking on ice? No way! Waddle like a penguin to travel safely outdoors during the winter. Watch the Alberta Health Services video to see how it's done!

Wear winter footwear

Take extra shoes with you or keep an extra pair on campus for when you safely arrive.

Put your phone in your pocket

That text can wait! Don't text and walk, especially in places where you could slip and fall.

Avoid shortcuts

To keep yourself safe from an accidental fall, stick to the recognized walkways that have been cleared of snow and ice.

Download a local weather app

Don't find yourself underdressed for the weather outside. Download a weather app and check it frequently!

If you see us working in a snowstorm

Give us a little space to work

Never assume we can see you

Watch your surroundings while you walk

See a snow or ice hazard? Call the Maintenance Desk:
North Campus, North Campus Residences, South Campus and Campus Saint-Jean: 780-492-4833
Augustana Campus and Augustana Residence: 780-679-1523
Enterprise Square: 1‑866‑254‑5349