Students clean up tornado mess at USM - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Students clean up tornado mess at USM

Posted: Updated:
New USM President Dr. Rodney Bennett led an impromptu pep rally before student volunteers set out to clean up the damaged campus Wednesday morning. New USM President Dr. Rodney Bennett led an impromptu pep rally before student volunteers set out to clean up the damaged campus Wednesday morning.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) -

For the first time since Sunday's tornado damaged the campus, students returned to the University of Southern Mississippi Wednesday. Many were shocked by what they saw. But that did not deter their mission to clean up the mess left behind by Mother Nature.

Before any work could begin, students had to sign up and be assigned an area to clean.  Hundreds of them did for their own reasons. 

"It's all about bringing Southern Miss to the top," Chilevin Jones said. "We're a school of community and we're about passion and we're get back on track. We've been hit, but we won't stay down for long." 

Then an impromptu pep rally from new USM President Dr. Rodney Bennett, who chanted "To the top!" That got everyone in the mood to get their hands dirty, including Brennan James.  

"Well, I just wanted to help out my school," James said. "It's not going to get done by itself, so somebody's got to do it. It's great that all these students came out."

Seeing the damage on campus left an impression on Devin Smith.  

"It makes you sad, in a sense, but I still feel like it's going to be bigger and better, especially with everybody coming out and helping like they are right now," Smith said. 

Student Brooke McCray echoed those thoughts.  

"It's just really unbelievable, you know, to see this university. This is my third year as a Southern Miss student and it just looks so different and a different atmosphere. I want to be here to just get it back to what it was," McCray said.  

Of course, at any major university, the main stakeholders are the students. And that's why this university's new president said this program, this clean up was all about them.

"We have had students calling since the events of Sunday evening asking how they could help and participate," Bennett said.  "They really wanted to do something and I think it shows great school spirit and great school pride."

Classes resume Thursday at USM. Since several fine arts buildings were damaged by the twister, those students will be relocated to other classrooms on campus.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.

SLIDESHOW: USM Tornado Damage Cleanup

See pictures from the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg as student volunteers gathered to clean up the mess Mother Nature left behind after Sunday's tornado.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Dismembered human corpse identified, suspected killer in jail

    Dismembered human corpse identified, suspected killer in jail

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 6:10 AM EDT2014-09-16 10:10:09 GMT
    (WMC) - Investigators have identified the man whose head they found inside a black garbage bag after police believe he'd likely been dead for more than a week. Police say the victim has been identifiedMore >>
    Investigators have identified the man whose head they found inside a black garbage bag after police believe he'd likely been dead for more than a week.More >>
  • Ocean Springs mom warning parents about app

    Ocean Springs mom warning parents about app

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 10:00 AM EDT2014-09-16 14:00:09 GMT
    An Ocean Springs mom is sending a warning to South Mississippi parents. Katrina Johnson wants every parent to be aware of an app that she says is being used by many students to spread hate.More >>
    An Ocean Springs mom is sending a warning to South Mississippi parents. Katrina Johnson wants every parent to be aware of an app that she says is being used by many students to spread hate. Johnson discovered the posts last week, and she says what she read would make parents cringe.More >>
  • 'Party mansion' owner convicted of tax and healthcare fraud

    'Party mansion' owner convicted of tax and healthcare fraud

    Friday, September 12 2014 12:38 PM EDT2014-09-12 16:38:35 GMT
    File photoFile photo
    A former Raleigh resident, known for the wild parties held at his “party mansion” in North Raleigh, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for tax fraud, healthcare fraud and money laundering crimes, according to a United States Department of Justice release.More >>
    A former Raleigh resident, known for the wild parties held at his “party mansion” in North Raleigh, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for tax fraud, healthcare fraud and money laundering crimes, according to a United States Department of Justice release.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.