Students respond to rising Red
Dozens of students gathered inside the Memorial Union Wednesday afternoon to board a bus to Sandbag Central.
Prakash Mathew, vice president for Student Affairs, called upon members of Student Government, Greek life and Residence Hall student staff to join him in making sandbags.
Student efforts play a vital role in the community in times of crises. “They have always been in the forefront, they have never taken a backseat. They showed that in 2009, 2010 and maybe some of them in ’97,” Mathew said. “Even though they are from all over the world, country and region, now they are here, part of a larger community. This is their way of showing we belong here, we have a responsibility.”
While some students are new to slinging sandbags, other students are veterans. Each of them brought an upbeat attitude and some Bison strength.
Steve Kluver, a sophomore from Wilmer, Minn., has never fought a flood before, but he wanted to get involved to give back. “It shows the support that we have for the community and is just a good thing for college students to do,” he said.
This isn’t Nicholas Nelson’s first time sandbagging. The second-year student from West Fargo helped in the 2009 flood. But he says this time it feels different. “The first year we were in the FargoDome and it was chaos. But now it’s completely organized and people have the perfect system and it takes just seconds to fill a bag.”
Sandbagging can be hard work, but Jen Vogart, a sophomore from Rogers, Minn., said they make it a good time. “It’s a lot of fun, singing and dancing and meeting people.” She said that the sandbags embellished with illustrations and words of encouragement, a project initiated by NDSU’s visual arts department, are having the desired affect. “Those are pretty cool, we always fight over who gets to fill those.”
Other elements adding to the fun are prizes and friendly competition. In February, President Bresciani announced that the student organization with the most hours would win dinner at his house. Thompson Hall director, Stephanie Hedge, followed his lead, offering to make a three-course meal to the suite with the most combined volunteer hours.
Nelson, a resident assistant, said Thompson Hall’s goal is 1000 hours and to achieve that each person has to contribute four hours. Nelson even has a friendly competition between himself and another resident assistant. He has 16 hours, down by nine hours from his challenger.
But more than prizes and competition, the real motivation for most students is protecting the city and helping the community.
“Although we are members of the NDSU community, we are also members of the larger Fargo-Moorhead community,” said Kevin Black, student body president. “I think it just speaks to the nature of the Midwest culture, that when your community needs help, you do it. You step up to the plate and you give what you can. It’s a camaraderie that is unique I think in this region, willing to take time out of our day to help each other out.”
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