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Students’ Water Crisis Experiences Were Different from Dorm to Dorm

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After the severe flooding in the south part of Jackson, Millsaps College had to deal with a water shortage in student dorms. The college office announced their treatment of the water crisis right after they noticed water pressure had become so low that many showers, toilets, and washing machines could not work. However, the water problem was quite different from dorm to dorm, although Millsaps college office treated all dorm students very similarly. 

As of August 30, “more than 150,000 people in Jackson were without access to safe drinking water”, and “homes and businesses were left with little to no water pressure”, making citizens’ life worse, The New York Times reported. And because of this situation, the water facility of Millsaps college also was not available because of low water pressure. 

On August 29, the Millsaps office announced the Millsaps News saying that there are water pressure issues and residents on the second or third floor must avoid unnecessary water use, which was the first water issue-related email broadcast. But  The following email by the college office reported that from after 11:30 a.m. on August 29, all classes became virtual except for those in Olin Hall, Sullivan-Harrell Hall, and the Windgate Visual Arts Center. And in the email of the college office asked students to use the portable restrooms to minimize the impact on the already low water pressure, and portable toilets would be placed outside Olin Hall (in the circle on the north side of the building), next to Sullivan-Harrell Hall, and outside the Windgate Visual Arts Center. Other portable restrooms will be placed around campus as needed. Portable showers were also are being ordered and will be put in the parking lot next to the Academic Complex.

On August 29, as the students left the campus, Millsaps sent the form requesting students to report whether they left campus, their residence hall, and their email. At that time, students’ situation regarding water pressure varied from dorm to dorm. College Office provided Becky Bacot Residence Hall residents with water buckets for shared shower rooms and bathrooms. Because of this treatment, they did not struggle with flushing water and taking showers. Students in Ezelle and Charles Residence Halls also could use water facilities without difficulty. Students living in Charles Residence Hall up to the second floor could use water facilities. In New South Residence Hall, residents could not use toilets and showers on the second floor. 

A student in New South Hall said they had to go to the toilet next to Sullivan-Harrell Hall, taking which took three minutes to walk. And those who could not go to the portable toilet left their dirt unflushed in their suite toilets which caused hygienic issues.  might cause hygienic trouble. One resident of Goodman Hall said that while everyone in that dorm could use the water, she got a body rash for the first time in her life from showering in it, so she ended up taking “water bottle showers” anyways.

Millsaps office failed to comprehend the difference in students’ situation in terms of distribution of emergency facilities. Millsaps college office collected the information about the remaining students on campus via the form they sent on Aug 29, but they did not ask for any information about the severity of water problems. Instead, they put the portable toilets farthest from New South Residence hall even though they said they would put additional bathrooms as needed.

After the water pressure problems had been solved, we still have drinking water issues. Millsaps distributes water to students in the Caf and other college facilities to supply enough water to students; however, students’ access to drinkable water is still limited to the opening time of school facilities. They were supplying water cases in all the residence halls while the boil water notice was still active on campus, but they have since stopped since the water is supposedly safe enough to drink. However, Junior and commuter Savannah Summers described filling up a bottle with a water fountain on campus after the boil water notice was lifted and feeling nauseous before even finishing it. Though this is the difficulty caused by Jackson water infrastructure, students and other members in the Millsaps community supervise and expect the college to make reasonable solutions.