Commencement issue: Students cope with lack of water in residence halls, boil water advisory

Students living in residence halls have spent much of the aftermath of the historic flooding in Columbia dealing with a lack of city water service. Though service has been restored to campus, residence halls are, like the entire city of Columbia, still under a boil water advisory, meaning water should be “vigorously” boiled for at least a minute before consumption or use.

Porta-potties and bottled water have been available to students throughout the water outage, but food service has been limited and bathrooms closed around campus.

Students such as first-year biomedical engineering student Anna Zinzarella found the complications to personal hygiene to be especially frustrating.

“We really just want to shower,” she said.

Third-year business student Daniel Evans shared a similar sentiment.

“The hardest part is probably brushing my teeth,” he said. “Showering’s tough because you can’t really get [the water] in your face.”

For many like fourth-year psychology student Daquan Williams and second-year English student Rachel Klink, having to use water bottles for many parts of their daily routines has been a necessary nuisance.

“My friend brought me bottled water, which was nice,” Williams said. “It’s hard not really being able to shower.”

“Having to brush your teeth using a water bottle has been frustrating,” Klink said, “but we’re just blessed to be safe and dry.”

Despite having to make adjustments to how they go about their days, students like first-year tourism management student Julie Dautrich appreciated how the shared struggle has brought their community together. Dautrich’s hall in Women’s Quad came together to watch television and movies, play board games and even paint canvases.

“I feel like this hall has done more bonding in the last 24 hours than we have all semester,” she said.

Staff writers T. Michael Boddie and Emily Mewborne contributed to this story.

Read the full version of this story, published in 2015.

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