Last week, Abilene and the entire state faced some of the coldest weather ever recorded in the state. As a result, the Texas power grid became overloaded, causing thousands of people in Abilene to lose power, including ACU students, faculty and staff who lived off-campus.
Most who lost power moved to dorms or the warming center located at Hunter Welcome Center. But some professors came up with creative ideas regarding how they could keep their families warm and healthy.
Dr. Nil Santana, associate professor of art and design, was one of those professors.
“My wife and I stayed at home for a while hoping that the power would be back,” Santana said. “But when the temperature dipped down to where we could see our breath, I realized this was going to be a major problem. Our phones were also dead, so we went by my office to charge them, and while there, we discussed spending the night in my office, and that is what we did in the end.”
Santana was not the only professor who ended up living in their office. Brandon Young, another associate professor of art and design, moved his family to his office after their house lost power.
“Living on campus was super convenient for us since we live only two blocks away, so to me, that was the simple solution,” Young said. “So me, my wife and our three kids moved over to my office. Then my mother lost power on her side of town, so we made space for her as well.”
Both professors ended up staying in their offices for a few days. Their building, the Don Morris Center, had power, Internet connection and running water, which was in short supply due to the inclement weather.
With classes canceled for the week, Santana, Young and their families found themselves with a lot of free time. So the professors and their families did many different things to kill time.
“I got the chance to clean up and organize my office a little bit,” Santana said. “Then I would take a break and me and my wife would watch a movie together on the computer. She also had her crocheting and knitting stuff that she enjoys, so she killed time by knitting and crocheting.”
Young and his family spent a lot of time in the Bean and watched movies together in the Don Morris Center.
“We ended up watching a movie together in one of the lecture rooms, so that was fun for the kids,” Young said. “It was a special treat for them to watch a movie on one of the big screens. There was also some reading and some game playing, which is typical in our normal family life.”
The power came back on at Young’s house on Wednesday night, so they left the office to return home that night. As for Santana, he and his wife stayed in his office for an extra night and moved back to their house on Thursday.
Santana feels grateful that he and his wife could find a warm place to stay and how blessed he was throughout last week’s events.
“Something that I would have ever imagine that one day I’ll be sleeping in my office because I didn’t have any power in my house,” Santana said. “We had many friends going through the same thing but had no place to go. So, we feel very lucky and thankful that we had a warm place to spend the night.”