In October 2015, South Carolina experienced rain that resulted in flooding of epic proportions. So much so, that this event has been dubbed the “1000 year flood.” Meteorologists advised us to expect flash flooding, which is normal for our area during heavy rainfall, but nothing like we were to experience! Here at the University of South Carolina, we had thousands of students on campus to ensure were safe and had the necessities during this crisis.
On Sunday night, October 4, 2015, USC Purchasing received notice that there was a possibility that water on campus could be cut off. We immediately began ordering port-a-johns for student and administrative staff use. We also had to make sure we had enough potable water for our students and to sustain food services.
The purchasing department contacted a vendor who made delivery of the port-a- johns that same night. The water, however, was another issue. A lot of bottled water was donated to the University by several entities. In addition, the University made arrangements to purchase bottled water by the truckload from Costco and Sam’s, but needed a way to pick them up. Southeastern Freight Lines donated a truck to transport water to our campus from the Sam’s warehouse. The Purchasing Department staff also used personal vehicles to transport water to the University.
To make sure food services stayed operational, arrangements were made to obtain 6,000 gallon tanks of potable water, which could be hooked up to food service operations. Since we did not know how long we were going to be under the emergency, we also obtained potable water storage tanks for any additional requirements. We found some at several Tractor Supply Company (TSC) locations throughout South Carolina. Purchasing had to go through additional steps at the corporate level to get TSC to accept a purchasing card over the phone. Fortunately, USC had a card approved with an increased Single Transaction Limit several years earlier to accommodate this situation..
Through teamwork, resourcefulness, and the combined efforts of everyone at the University, all services were restored with minimum to no impact on the students.
Procurement Director and
Clarissa Clark, CPPO, CPPB