Photo: Ben Crawford

Updated: Student-run flood-relief volunteer group recruits over 2500

Over 2,500 people have signed up to volunteer with UofSCRelief, according to the group's founder, third-year sociology and Russian student Cory Alpert.

That's almost a two-fold increase in the number of volunteers from Monday evening.

The student-run volunteer coordination program is working with United Way of the Midlands, the university and other parties in order to find out where volunteers are most needed and coordinating transport. 

According to the organization's Facebook page, a first wave of volunteers began Tuesday by helping United Way distribute water bottles across the city. 

Other volunteers have since been sent out to Rosewood Baptist and and The Timmerman School earlier this morning. Currently, it has coordinated over 25 events for Tuesday alone.

For Alpert, who began the organization to help coordinate support for the state's recent flooding, the main priority is to keep people safe, including the volunteers. The sign-up website stipulates that no volunteers will be sent out until the City of Columbia gives the go-ahead.

When asked if he had expected such a large response, he didn't mince words:

"No way in hell," he said. "I thought that this would hit 200 people, most of whom I knew. This has just been crazy. And it's flooding in."

UofSCRelief volunteers will assist with a variety of tasks — damage repair, distribution of goods to evacuation shelters and water debris removal, according to Alpert.

Alpert started to reach out to student organizations and publicizing the volunteer efforts Sunday evening. Several other students, including fourth-year English student Morgan Lundy and third-year public relations student Becca Bradley, are helping him organize the volunteers.

For Alpert, the response isn't just a show of support; it's a conscious rejection of the idea that today's college students don't care.

"There's this myth that millennials are too apathetic. We're too obsessed with taking selfies to be involved in the world around us," he said. "What I think we're seeing is a large rejection of that myth."

Those who wish to join other USC community members and students in the volunteering effort can sign up here.

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