RALEIGH — After Saturday's storms caused widespread damage, Shaw University ended the spring semester early. But that didn't stop campus leaders from completing one last assignment: making the school grounds look like home again.
On Thursday, hundreds of volunteers gathered at Shaw to help students participate in the Project Hope campus cleanup.
"It started with eight schools reaching out to help; now we have neighbors, alumni and an overflow of volunteers," said Wanda Goodman, assistant to the dean of students and one of the organizers of the event.
Goodman said that after the storm, which tore through campus taking down century-old trees and breaking countless windows, the school received hundreds of calls from volunteers.
Courtney Scott, a junior and the Miss Shaw University elect, helped organize Thursday's event, and news of the event spread on Twitter and Facebook.
Armed with industrial-strength garbage bags and gardening gloves, students from UNC-Chapel Hill, N.C. State, N.C. A&T, St. Augustine's, Meredith College, N.C. Central and Duke joined Shaw students in clearing tree branches and debris from the oldest historically black college campus in the South.
Ethan Harrelson, an NCSU senior from Rockingham, spent the afternoon at Shaw.
"We had more than 100 State volunteers, which is impressive considering today is a school holiday," said Harrelson, student Senate president at NCSU. "My group was assigned to clear out the nursery where a lot of rocks had fallen."
Harrelson is involved with Universities United, an NCSU student government organization that was created this week to handle tornado relief efforts.
Marcus McCall, a 1994 Shaw graduate, was one of the alumni helping.
"Shaw did a lot for me, and now I have to give something back to her," he said.
Many of the Shaw students still in Raleigh are graduating seniors. Seniors will be graduating from the university May 7. Baccalaureate and commencement activities have not been canceled.
Kimberly Bell, a senior from Norfolk, Va., said she is devastated by the damage done to her campus.
"I'm here to do my part," said Bell, who, like many students, was wearing a Shaw T-shirt.
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