Campus Food Vendor Battles Tropical Storm Hermine
By Amanda Aguilar
Not even the torrential rains that slammed into the Gulf Coast forming Tropical Storm Hermine could stop United Caterers Inc. from serving faculty and students today. Hungry students braved the weather in a steady stream to purchase breakfast and lunch until the storm warranted a mid-day closure of the campus.
Hermine made landfall Monday in northeastern Mexico with winds of up to 65 mph (100 kph) and dumped heavy rains throughout South Texas, but was expected to downgrade or dissolve before it got worse.
Mid-Tuesday morning, students hunched over in the gushing winds and some cowered under upturned umbrellas. Many ran the short distance from the parking lot to campus to avoid getting soaked. Sounds of Hermine could be heard throughout classrooms, down the hallway and over professors’ voices.
As the rain started to pour early this morning, United Caterers employees relocated from out of the mud and closer to the concrete sidewalk near the gym and portico. Vendor Judy Castellano faced the gusting winds and torrential rain by leaving the truck and delivering orders to customers under the covered portico to prevent customers from getting wet.
“There’s a lot of water,” Castellano shouted, “but everyone is still happy!”
Despite getting soaked, students ran out to place orders and waited for their food standing in the rain.
Christina Martinez, administrative assistant for enrollment management and business administration major, waited for her lunch under the portico. Martinez said she’s very pleased with the campus’ new food service.
“In today’s case, it’s convenient. I don’t have to walk out into the rain!” Martinez said. “There’s a good selection and you get more for your buck here.”
Martinez ordered a cheeseburger with fries for $5. Students say that despite the limited food on campus, United Caterers offers more options in the past, including breakfast tacos, fried chicken, hamburgers, fish and shrimp, grilled sandwiches, quesadillas, burritos, egg rolls and rice pudding. Various drinks and sweets are also available. A cash only service, United Caterers Inc. serves the campus community M-F, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Known informally as “the truck”, United Caterers’ is the campus’ single food vendor. Students rely on the company’s broad, and many confirm, great-tasking food to keep them well-fed between classes.
“I love the food from ‘the truck’,” said biology professor Dr. Megan Wise de Valdez. “Everything I have ever ordered from there has been so tasty.”
Owner Jovan Diaz said in a telephone interview he’s been working with the university since Aug. 30. Diaz said that he was not surprised that students were still coming out for food during the rain.
“Hey! People are still hungry! Thank God, business has been getting better and better every day,” Diaz said.