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Student speaks with a downtown business owner

One of the first things Colin Campagne ’27 did Thursday morning was to walk through downtown Marietta to check on the rising water levels and ask people at local businesses if they needed help shoring up their storefronts.

“I lived in Florida for nine years, so this isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to preparing for mass flooding,” said Campagne, a first-year student from Chillicothe, Ohio, who is one of two Marietta College students who stepped forward to organize volunteer efforts by the MC community. “I genuinely want to help because I know this is tough, what the homeowners and business owners are going through right now. Plus, I’m always downtown, and I love it here.”

On Wednesday, Marietta College students received an email addressing the impact of potential flooding in the region, and students from several residence halls had to move into temporary quarters until the water receded. The email also provided contact information regarding student volunteers helping local businesses and non-profit organizations that the flood would impact. Dr. Alexandra Perry, Interim Dean of the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business and Associate Professor of Leadership and Ethics, was one of the contacts listed.

“It was inspiring. For me, it was the fact that it was such a quick response,” Perry said. “The students just jumped in and were ready to give their time to the community and the downtown businesses. We probably had 10 emails within five minutes of the (initial campuswide) email going out, and we had three students come into my office — and they were all concerned about the community. It shows me that they feel like they belong and that they’re stepping up because they feel like this is their community as well.”

The College contacted Marietta Main Street, the local organization focused on local businesses and other nonprofits, to determine where help was needed and how students could fill those needs.

Standing in front of Teri Ann’s, a fashion boutique that has been a downtown Marietta staple since 1961, Campagne and store manager Teri Ann (Zide) Brockett talked about the rising waters and the impact it would have on the community. She had connected with the College about its offer to help the downtown and shared some of that conversation with Campagne.

“When I spoke with (Dr. Amy Elliott, Assistant Professor of Leadership), I said to keep in mind that on Monday, everybody who has moved out is going to need to move back in,” Brockett said. “It’s very difficult to put everything back together again after such a big event has occurred, so I am so glad you and your fellow students are available to help.”

Students walking downtown under an umbrellaClaire Strickland ’25 is also one of the student volunteer organizers who reached out to Perry shortly after receiving the initial email on Wednesday. She leads her Sigma Kappa sorority’s philanthropic efforts, so she was happy to help coordinate with other Greek houses and student organizations to streamline the process of connecting student volunteers with businesses in need. She and her sorority sister, Mackenzie Harshbarger ’25, walked downtown after one of their classes to survey the situation

“Right away, we see places across the river underwater and people downtown packing in U-Hauls, putting signs on their doors and sandbags on the front of the buildings, so we knew how serious this was going to be for them,” Strickland said. “Not to sound cliché, but it really touched my heart because these aren’t big corporations with tons of money. These are small businesses and real people with families who need help right now. I knew we could organize groups and actually do something.”

Strickland, who is from Shadyside, Ohio, a community that was devastated by a flood in 1990, said the Marietta community has been exceptionally welcoming to her.

“I remember one of the first times I went downtown with my friends, we had just gotten out of our car when we saw a lady setting out a display in front of her store. We introduced ourselves and she said, ‘If you ever need anything, just come into my shop (American Flags & Poles) and tell them you know Sylvi (Caporale) and they’ll take care of you. I’ll never forget that.”

Harshbarger, who is from Pullman, West Virginia, said community service has always been important to her, so she is ready to help in any way she can.

“They have invested a lot of money and time into their small businesses, and they have been so welcoming to students, so I want to give back what I can and make sure they know how much Marietta’s students are here to support them when they’re in need,” Harbarger said. “We chose Marietta College, and it has become our home for the four years we are here, and that makes the city of Marietta our home also, and they need our help.”

Students who want to be a part of a volunteer team can contact Colin ( or Claire ( Businesses and nonprofit organizations needing help can contact Dr. Perry ( , Dr. Elliott ( or Professor Jason Nulton (