OPINION: St. Edward’s response to winter storm far more helpful than city’s


St. Edward’s did not lose power like most of the city so they were able to open their doors to those who were affected.

The 2021 Texas winter storm was an unprecedented event for many Texans. We weren’t sure how universities would respond to the storm because we haven’t seen a storm like this in the past. 

For St. Edward’s students, class was cancelled from Feb. 15 to Feb. 24 to accommodate students’ power outages and other stressful circumstances. This was a good response, as many students were not able to attend class or complete coursework. This helped students worry about one less thing and focus on potentially life-threatening circumstances such as a lack of food, water, or heat.

While it is important to be critical of the storm response, it is also important to give the benefit of the doubt and understand how stressful this situation was for everybody involved. 

The university offered off-campus students without power or water a place to stay on campus for $50 a night. This decision could be questioned as it raises the concern of whether or not students should have been charged at all. However, it is understandable why the university decided to charge for places to stay, as they are using a lot of their resources in the process. The price of $50 a night is far less than any hotel in the area was offering, which also made it very helpful. However, a lower price such as $25 a night might have been better, as many students could not work and were operating on limited resources during the storm. I think it is wonderful that the university was offering students a place to go, but I also believe that they could have done more to make things a bit easier for those students in a bad situation. 

I was fortunate enough to not need living arrangements accommodated, as I was able to go from my house to my mom’s when I lost water. I feel that the university adequately accommodated my needs, as my main concern was keeping up with my schoolwork. All of my professors were very understanding about everyone’s situation from what I saw, and everyone is still working to get back to their normal routine. 

Returning to classes felt like a smooth transition, as all of my professors were very understanding about the circumstances. I didn’t feel like the transition was too sudden or too much to adjust to, and I’m very grateful for the easy transition back into a normal routine. 

The response of city and state officials was far worse than the response of the university, as many were left without access to food or clean water. For an incident that Austin has never seen anything like, I feel that the university adequately accommodated students who were in dire circumstances. I also believe that everyone will respond far better if something like this happens again. That is no excuse for the inadequate response of city and state officials, but it is something that we can hopefully be optimistic about for the future.