“Many of the same resources are brought into play and we were very pleased with the collaborative effort on behalf of the University, the town, various departments and different agencies in responding over the past weekend,” Young said.
When Associate Food Service Director Jerod Haxton first found classes were cancelled on Friday, he said he knew the campus was going to be shut down.
“Rams worked closely with the Health Department and health inspector in Orange County to make sure other places on campus were going to be able to supply us with the water that we needed," Haxton said. "We were given palettes of water from UNC Facilities, Orange County and our vendor, Pepsi."
For the University, the safety of students may have been the biggest concern, but for the students still on campus, not being able to use the bathroom was a big worry.
Rick Bradley, associate director of the Department of Housing and Residential Education, said the University put up signs in the dorms prohibiting any water use which included using the bathrooms. Alert Carolina messages were sent out to students to reinforce the no bathroom use.
“We were never worried about the students using their bathrooms," Bradley said. "We trusted that they would listen to us like any good citizen would."
He said there were nearly 100 port-a-johns brought in and placed near residential communities all around campus.
Finding sources for food and drinking water was also a concern. Rams Head Dining Hall and Rams Head Market were the only open places on campus serving food.
Employees at the dining hall handed out almost 9,000 bottles of water to students as they came in to the dining hall this weekend, Haxton said.
Hunter Stegall, food chef at Rams Head Dining Hall, said the staff had to go through the menu and figure out what needed to be changed based on the new circumstances. There was no water to wash raw chicken. There was no water to boil pasta or rice.
“We changed chicken to roast pork loin, we made bacon potato corn chowder with all milk and we took rice off the menu and added tater tots, which the students loved,” Stegall said.
Learning from this past weekend, Haxton said the University gathered how much water the dining hall needed to hand out to students and how much water was needed to provide people still on campus with food, so it will have an action plan moving forward.
“We’ve never really had to worry about a plan such as this, which is exactly why they call it a crisis,” Haxton said.