Kevin Dalby, UT-Austin professor, said the unusual Texas snowstorm in February brought the cold and chaos to the University of Texas at Austin. Dalby is a professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and the Department of Oncology.
Many professors at the university came together to help cover the cost of meals for all students stuck on campus in unpleasant conditions during the winter storm. Due to the power outages and water shortages caused by the snowstorm, students in large residence halls faced a whirlwind of issues, including limited food access, toilets that would not flush, burst pipes, and flooded corridors. Many students, living far from family, even lacked access to clean clothing or cars. The power continued to be inconsistent for days in the dorms on campus, leaving many to wander through the dark with only a phone flashlight.
Some students described the environment as a prison after going more than three days without heat, power, or a warm shower. For most, their only option was to sleep and wait things out. Without power, cell phones became precious, and all unnecessary communication ceased.
The snow and ice from the storm limited food supply when trucks could not deliver food to campus dining halls. However, both the Kinsolving and the Jester Dining Halls on campus were open during regular hours for students to have access to warm food and shelter. Dalby noted how several professors on campus stepped up to give students a helping hand during these dire circumstances. To figure out how best to help students, some professors even took to Twitter to send out cash for meals through Venmo.
Students without an unlimited meal plan had no other option but to pay up to $14.07 for a single meal at campus food locations due to dwindling provisions. Rather than three meals a day, most students rationed food based on affordability – for many, only one to two meals per day. Using the crowdfunding platform, HornRaiser, student leaders also created a joint fundraising campaign for those in need.
“It was a terrible situation brought on by the winter storm, but teachers and students made all the difference and answered their community when it cried for help,” said Kevin Dalby, UT Austin Professor.
About Kevin Dalby
Dr. Kevin Dalby is a professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry, currently working on cancer drug discovery. At the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas, he is examining the mechanisms of nature and cancer to develop new treatments and teaching and motivating students to conduct research. Dalby is optimistic about the future of cancer treatments.