On Friday, March 27, 2009 two busloads of Northwestern students went to Grand Forks, N.D. to assist with sandbagging efforts as the waters of the Red River continued to rise. The whirlwind service project—orchestrated in less than 48 hours by Dean of Student Development Paul Bradley—came originally as a response to a plea for help from officials in Fargo, N.D.
By the time the students gathered to leave at 3:30 p.m. the college had received word that Fargo was now closed to any inbound traffic. Rather than cancel, Bradley moved forward in faith and was able to find another opportunity in Grand Forks, where they were still sandbagging and would welcome the students’ help.
The eager-to-serve students departed at 5 p.m. and after experiencing some delays en route, arrived in Grand Forks at 1 a.m. Saturday, where they bagged nonstop until 7:30 a.m. Their last task was to load the more than 100,000 bags they had filled onto multiple trucks and roll-offs for distribution around the community.
Bradley wholeheartedly felt it was worth everything it took to make this happen. "It was very rewarding," he said. "Our students were captured by it and seeing a new part of life that experientially put them outside of Northwestern." He noted that the people of Grand Forks were "just really intrigued that we were willing to go that far. I’m very, very glad we did this."