Winter Storm Uri surprised Texans as the state had less than a week to prepare and send provisions. Sam Houston State University students found themselves stranded with no power or water. While the dining halls remained open, many students complained about being charged for meals during such extreme weather emergency conditions.
On Feb. 16, Sam Houston State University informed students via text about the dining hall services and students were told that Old Main Market and General’s market would be open to students who needed food. Confusion arose when students who thought meals would be free, started having credit cards scanned. It was not until the complaints did the dining hall address the issue stating that they were not charging students but were taking down numbers to see how many students were in the dining hall.
Marketing manager Laurel Stevens for SH dining services clarified the confusion that students had.
“Meals were provided for free. There were more than 1,200 free meals provided throughout the week,” Stevens said. “If students didn’t have a meal plan, or a means to pay they were let in free, no one was turned away.”
Stevens elaborated that the dining hall also faced many challenges during the storm.
“Initially, we had both Markets [General’s and Old Main] open, but due to multiple power outages, no water, limited cooking equipment, failed generators and limited staff, our team served the majority of meals from Old Main Market,” Stevens said. “Despite this challenge, our team powered through and was able to open on time and serve hot meals to thousands of students and the community, as well as weekly quarantine meals.
There was major miscommunication regarding efforts made on behalf of the school during the storm, but one thing is for sure, Sam Houston State University will always care and provide for their students no matter what.