Unprecedented weather affects Tarleton students

By: Taylor Kaluza

Multimedia Journalist

This past week, Texas experienced record-breaking low temperatures for the first time in over 20 years. What first started with snow falling soon led to icy conditions that affected everyone across the state. Many went without power, water or heat for over 24 hours.

Tarleton State University Campus Monday night as snow and ice continues to fall.
Photo by Taylor Kaluza.

In Stephenville, there were lows recorded at zero degrees and days where the high was still below freezing. As a result, classes at Tarleton State University went from in-person to virtual but were soon canceled completely due to student’s inability to log onto their devices because of statewide power outages. The campus as a whole closed for the remainder of the week beginning Feb. 15 and ending Feb. 19.

Many experienced rolling blackouts or water shortage that was a result of the low temperatures. Given the circumstances, many students were left with a week-long break spent anticipating warmer weather.

During the wintry events, Texan News sent a survey to several students to get feedback on what they did during the week. With the Internet down, it became a challenge for students to come up with things to do while stuck inside for the remainder of the icy weather.

The survey sent to students contained ten questions asking about what they did, how they were affected and how their families were affected by this event. Seven students responded to the survey and provided answers to give an insight as to how they got creative with limited resources.

All of the students last week were living in the dorms at the time the storm hit. When asked what challenges arose from the weather, there were a variety of responses. The answers consisted of not being able to drive, being unable to get food during the storm, not having access to the Internet and not being able to work on assignments.

One participant went into detail about it being difficult to care for her horse that she boards off campus. With the icy roads, she was unable to get to him to take care of him and the boarding facility had difficulty caring for multiple horses with rolling blackouts.

Texan News also questioned the students about how they were affected with no Internet in terms of school and their daily schedule. Collectively, they all said that with no school, assignments were pushed back and they were ready to get back to their regular schedule.

Then came the fun part of the questionnaire of finding out how students spent the break. While many students were practically closed up in their dorm the remainder of the week, this group of students found different ways to have fun.

Whether it was going out to enjoy the snow or spending time with friends, they made the best of it. The list of activities included playing video games, board games, reading books, watching movies and even catching up on sleep. While they could not go out anywhere, many tried to make the best of the situation by staying busy at home or simply relaxing.

When it came to asking about electrical and water problems, the majority of students on campus did not really experience any issues, other than a few broken water pipes and fire alarms going off. Other than power going out temporarily, none of them experienced extended periods of time without power or energy. One main concern though was trying to limit water usage with the ongoing water shortage in Stephenville at the time.

At the end of the survey, it was asked how their families had been affected by all of the snow and low temperatures. While none of the students had family that lived close to Tarleton, they experienced more problems when it came to power and water.

Many Texans lost either one of these or both and there was still so much more damage to the state. Prior to the weather this past week, ice caused the major pile up in Fort Worth that caused six deaths and many people to be injured, according to CBS DFW.

During the week alone, people had to deal with damage including pipes bursting and flooding. There were also problems with possible carbon monoxide poisoning and store shelves being empty due to people stocking up and trucks not being able to deliver to stores.

There are many ways that you can donate in many areas to help families recover from the horrific weather. You can go to https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/17/us/texas-winter-storm-how-to-help-iyw-trnd/index.html  which will take you to many organizations that are working with families to get their lives back to normal.

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