Storm Troopers Stepping Up When Bad Weather Strikes

When it comes to inclement weather, Housing and Food Service (DHFS) is unlike most campus organizations. Residence halls are home to more than 7,400 students that depend on a well-maintained building to live, study, eat and sleep in, regardless of any snow or ice. So when the campus is closed due to inclement weather, DHFS calls in the storm troopers.

Photo of Housing and Food Service Storm Troopers

Housing and Food Service “Storm Troopers:” Bottom row L-R: Guadalupe Alamenza, Dora Moreno, Tomasa Rios, Lindsey Jordan, Virginia Jaramillo
Top row L-R: Tim Castelleja, John Rykowski, Roque Armando Valdes, Leopoldo Flores, Floyd Hoelting, Paula Diaz, Marcelina Garcia

The DHFS inclement weather plan for each area includes how they will feed students, provide maintenance, sanitize bathrooms, keep entrances safe from slips and much more, all in an effort to meet the basic needs of each student. Part of this plan includes calling upon the “storm troopers” – staff who stay on campus in case the roads are too dangerous for the morning commute.

The storm troopers have a place to sleep, free meals and extra compensation for the hours they are here. Think it would be difficult to get staff to stay on campus all night during inclement weather? The storm troopers are so dedicated to students that they call to ask if they’re needed the minute they hear about severe weather possibly impacting the university. They know they’re part of a bigger team, and they are truly appreciated. “This is another example of the outstanding dedication of our staff,” says Housing and Food Service Executive Director Floyd Hoelting, “many of whom sacrifice time at home with their families to take care of our students.”

The storm troopers step up when they’re needed, and this dedication begins with the DHFS management team. Leaders do the same thing asked of staff during these times. During inclement weather everyone from directors, managers and supervisors to food service, maintenance and custodial staff all respond and work together to ensure students’ needs are met. They also create a special bond while telling stories, watching TV or eating popcorn, and this strange circumstance becomes the best team building program anyone could ask for. As each year goes by the group seems to grow as the staff shares their experience and the fun they have.

It is great knowing just how dedicated and proactive staff is when they’re needed most. Staff that cannot stay on campus due to family or other situations will still often find a way to get to campus to help, even if that means riding a bicycle. In times of inclement weather, it’s all hands on deck to provide the best possible living conditions for the students. Some may call it going the extra mile, but to DHFS it’s just the way things are done.