St. Edward’s seeks to assist students on Texas coast affected by Tropical Storm Beta

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Dr. John Bullas/ Creative Commons

A month after Hurricane Laura hit the Texas Gulf Coast, Tropical Storm Beta made landfall. St. Edward’s is providing assistance to students who have been affected by the storm.

An already difficult semester due to the pandemic is now throwing St. Edward’s University students a new curve with the threat of Tropical Storm Beta.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 29 Texas counties on Sept. 21. These include: Aransas, Bee, Bexar, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Hardin, Harris, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Oranges, Refugio, Sabine, San Augustine, San Patricio, Shelby, Travis, Victoria and Wharton counties.

On Sept. 18, Dean of Students Steven Pinkenburg sent out an email to all students with resources they may need to prepare for hurricane season, including access to the Emergency Services Toolkit and social services referral based on your zip code. It’s completely free and confidential to use and can help students find assistance with medical or mental health, housing, transportation, food, legal support, academic support, financial support and personal safety. 

Students can find academic support from their student success coach by contacting Academic Counseling and Support or their professors. The Health and Counseling Center offers physical and mental health care and is open Monday through Friday. The Dean of Students Office can also provide assistance with student conduct and mental health. A student can anonymously express a concern or request support for themselves or another student through the Student Concern/Conduct Reporting Form. 

The Central Texas Food Bank offers students the chance to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Service (SNAP). If a student is approved, they will receive a debit card to make purchases at food retailers. Near campus, the St. Ignatius Food Pantry provides free food to those in need. The pantry is open Monday through Thursday. Students can also help each other through the SEU Peer to Peer Meal Plan Dollar Transfer. Two students must appear at the Hilltopper Card Office in Main Building to transfer meal plan money to each other. 

Due to the pandemic, a majority of students are living off campus this semester and may find themselves in the middle of a storm. Students and their families may be affected by the damages caused by the hurricanes. In Houston, Tropical Storm Beta caused flooding, leaving homeowners to clean up the watery mess and destruction.

With the already looming threat of poor health due to the pandemic, the regular stress of classwork and a tropical storm, students may find themselves in one of their more difficult years of college.

If you or your family have been impacted by this hurricane season, reach out for help using any of the above resources provided by the university.

To support students in need, you can donate to St. Edward’s Hilltoppers Overcoming Obstacles Fund (HOOF). You can also donate in support of disaster relief to the American Red Cross or Catholic Charities.