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Many college residence halls in Texas are struggling in the aftermath of severe winter storms

Feb. 19, 2021
Student housing facilities at several campuses lack access to consistent water and food.

Freezing temperatures, snow and ice have left much of the state of Texas without electricity and access to water, and college students living on campuses across the state said they’re struggling to get basic necessities.

The Texas Tribune reports that some campuses have regained power, many residence halls still lack access to consistent water and food.

“I feel like I’m in hell, like I’m in prison,” says Texas State University freshman Nicholas Ware, who spent three days without heat and power until Wednesday evening.

Universities have tried to provide students with food and shelter, opening warming centers in campus buildings and providing to-go meals from dining halls. But many are battling dwindling food supplies, staffing shortages as employees struggle to get to work, lack of water and power outages.

Texas Tech University officials told students Thursday on Twitter that campus may be subject to rolling black outs as they announced the campus would remain closed Friday and in-person classes moved online or were canceled.

Texas A&M University prohibited laundry and told students to avoid showers as they continue to deal with critically low water levels. After San Antonio issued a boil water notice, St. Mary’s University told students Wednesday evening that they had a limited supply of water bottles. Students received three bottles each, said sophomore Zane Smith.

Unstable cell phone and internet service made it difficult for students to receive the latest information

Texas State students have moved around the San Marcos campus chasing electricity to stay warm and charge their phones, including Adalia Williams, another Texas State freshman. She says it’s difficult to get to her eighth-story room because the stairwells are outside and covered in ice and the elevators were broken even before the storm hit.

At Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, students have been without water, which has limited their access to toilets.

On Thursday, the school secured portable toilets for students to use, placing them outside the residence hall.

Students on campus at Texas A&M say some residence hall conditions are descending into chaos as students continue to go stir crazy and more off-campus residents have shown up to access heat, power and water.

“This has made people forget about COVID precautions because I would definitely say that like mask usage is way down,” he said. “People have just assumed that that's not something they need to worry about right now.”

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