Sandbagging off to slow start despite early preparations

By Misty Irving
MSUM Mass Comm Major

With hopes of getting an early start on predicted flooding this spring, Fargo and Moorhead started sandbagging at a site in each city on March 1. Fargo leaders hope to make 1 million sandbags before spring, with an objective of 100,000 per day.

On Monday, only 100 volunteers who were able to turn out 35,000 sandbags at “Sandbag Central,” Fargo’s garbage utility building.

The cities depended largely upon the assistance of college-aged students during last year’s record flood. City officials have expressed concern that students will be unwilling to help this year because they are burned out from the previous flood fight.

However, students from colleges and universities throughout both cities have articulated a strong sense of community and desire to lend a helping hand again this year.

College students express opinions about sandbagging

Kristin Bode, NDSU graduate and freshman at MSCTC

Q. Did you help sandbag last year?

A. Yes.

Q. Why did you decide to (or not to) help sandbag?

A. Because the thought of my mom’s house being in danger made me want to help.

Q. How long did you sandbag?

A. ‘Bout 10 hours total, I suppose.

Q. Will you sandbag again this year?

A. If it’s necessary. If they need volunteers, I’ve got all my gear. Plus, Dave (my boyfriend) is in the Guard, so if he gets activated, I’ll definitely want to help out.

Q. Do you think Fargo and Moorhead should depend upon its college-age citizens to bail their cities out during flood situations?

A. That’s the least college students can do. The new generation is so untitled and spoiled that they should have the responsibility of saving a city. Besides, that’s a bonus of having that kind of capable generation. The city shouldn’t rely on them every year because I think people will only be open to sandbagging for another two years. The civil engineers of the cities need to find a permanent solution.

Q. Any additional comments?

A. Even though a lot of college students helped sandbag, the entire community helped. I personally wanted to help because of all the people who already lost their homes.

Kayla Goebel, sophomore at MSCTC

Q. Did you help sandbag last year?

A. Yes, I sure did.

Q. Why did you decide to (or not to) help sandbag?

A. I decided to because school was cancelled, and I felt like our city needed the help.

Q. How long did you sandbag?

A. Seven days straight, I think.

Q. Will you sandbag again this year?

A. Yeah, probably.

Q. Why or why not?

A. Depends on school and work. But if our city needs it, I will be there.

Q. Do you think Fargo and Moorhead should depend upon its college-age citizens to bail their cities out during flood situations?

A. No. I think this year students may not step up like they did last year. The city/state needs to figure out a more permanent answer. I also don’t think the city “depends” on just college-age citizens. It’s depending on all of its citizens. And I think, after this year, a lot of people will be over it and looking for a permanent answer.

Q. Any additional comments?

A. I actually enjoyed all the hours I sandbagged last year. I met a lot of people who were fun to be around, and it reminded a lot of us that there is nothing wrong with hard work.

Jena Smedshammer, senior at NDSU

Q. Did you help sandbag last year?

A. Yes. I filled sandbags and built dikes with them.

Q. Why did you decide to (or not to) help sandbag?

A. I wanted to help out the community.

Q. How long did you sandbag?

A. Five full days.

Q. Will you sandbag again this year?

A. Yep!

Q. Why or why not?

A. I want to help out again and hopefully help the cities of Fargo and Moorhead.

Q. Do you think Fargo and Moorhead should depend upon its college-age citizens to bail their cities out during flood situations?

A. I think that the Fargo-Moorhead area should rely on any citizen who is able to help out. People of all ages can help because there is so much that needs to be done.

Brady Edwards, senior at UND

Q. Did you help sandbag last year?

A. Yes.

Q. Why did you decide to (or not to) help sandbag?

A. Even though West Fargo was safe because of the diversion, I have many family and friends that needed the help both in and around the Fargo-Moorhead area. My uncle lives just north of Moorhead, and their subdivision was basically an island. So I spent my time there for the most part. They were in danger of losing their homes, and I didn’t want it to happen, so I helped. If my house/neighborhood was in danger, people would show up to help out. So why not return the favor?

Q. How long did you sandbag?

A. I can’t remember exactly, but it was at least four days.

Q. Will you sandbag again this year?

A. If it’s necessary, I will. It’s still too early to know for sure.

Q. Why or why not?

A. I’ll do it for the same reasons as last year.

Q. Do you think Fargo and Moorhead should depend upon its college-age citizens to bail their cities out during flood situations?

A. I don’t think they really have a choice at this point. At the same time, college students are just a portion of the people that helped. I think most students understand that, until a permanent solution is built, they will be called on in emergency situations. And they will have classes cancelled if it’s necessary. If they have nothing to do, it’s their responsibility to help out. That’s what being part of a community is all about. And the last time I checked, area colleges are included in that community.

Clint Kliewer, senior at MSUM

Q. Did you help sandbag last year?

A. Yes.

Q. Why did you decide to (or not to) help sandbag?

A. I would’ve felt guilty if I had not helped.

Q. How long did you sandbag?

A. From like 1 a.m. until 4:30 a.m. (one day).

Q. Will you sandbag again this year?

A. Possibly. If classes are cancelled.

Q. Why or why not?

A. Same reason.

Q. Do you think Fargo and Moorhead should depend upon its college-age citizens to bail their cities out during flood situations?

A. No. It’s OK to rely on them in extreme situations, but a long-term solution is needed.

Q. Any additional comments?

A. I was only able to help sandbag once because my parents’ house was in the evacuation zone, and we had to haul all of the stuff from the basement to the lake.

Brad Kvamme, NDSU graduate and freshman at MSUM

Q. Did you help sandbag last year?

A. Yes’m.

Q. Why did you decide to (or not to) help sandbag?

A. My uncle lives in an area that got flooded in Moorhead.

Q. How long did you sandbag?

A. Five days? About eight hours each day.

Q. Will you sandbag again this year?

A. Yep.

Q. Why or why not?

A. I’d want help if it was my house in danger of getting flooded.

Q. Do you think Fargo and Moorhead should depend upon its college-age citizens to bail their cities out during flood situations?

A. Nope. It should be a community effort.

Q. Any additional comments?

A. Besides the politics involved with flood prevention? No.

Perhaps the cities will be able to call on its university and college citizens once again this spring to bail out the communities of Fargo and Moorhead. According to city officials, sandbagging will occur from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday until the ultimate goal of 1 million sandbags is reached.  For more information on aiding in the flood fight, visit the City of Fargo Web site.

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