Just weeks after a devastating tornado swept through Raleigh North Carolina, the Shaw University community is working diligently to recover and reopen the campus of the historically Black college. The storm forced the cancellation of classes and the premature end of the spring semester. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries despite the significant damage to academic buildings and dormitories on the campus.
Shaw recently welcomed more than 400 volunteers who came on the campus to lend their labor to begin the clean up of the campus. In solidarity with Shaw, volunteers included students from North Carolina Central University, North Carolina A&T University, Duke, St. Augustine’s College, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and other colleges, high schools and church groups. Several area businesses, including Wal-Mart, Chick-fil-a, Domino’s Pizza and Jimmy John’s donated supplies and food to the volunteers.
The clean up is part of the larger outpouring of support for the university. Local businesses have come to the aid of Shaw, as has an architectural firm that specializes in the design of higher education facilities. In addition, the University of Minnesota, the former employer of Shaw’s current president, Dr. Irma McClaurin, sent its director of development to assist in the planning of the campus recovery.
There are just a few dozen students remaining on the Shaw campus, all residing in the Talbert O. Shaw Living and Learning Complex that was not significantly damaged by the storm on April 16. Students who needed assistance to return home were given help as the Federal Health International Organization and Shaw alumni donated resources to students. In addition, the university provided bus transportation to Charlotte and tickets for students heading to northern locations. The Mechanics and Farmers Bank has established the Shaw University Disaster Relief Fund and the General Baptist State Convention has donated $50,000 to the recovery effort. There are numerous fundraisers planned to benefit the disaster relief fund.
Despite the tremendous challenges facing the university, Shaw is preparing for its Commencement exercise for the Class of 2011 on May 7 and is expected to soon make a decision regarding its summer semester. The public can get updates on the recovery at Shaw and make contributions by visiting www.shawu.edu.