University seeking community hosts for flood recovery projects

· 11 min read

University seeking community hosts for flood recovery projects

News briefs: Nebraska flooding response
Flood water runs across roadways and into a Nebraska community after storms hit the region in March. The University of Nebraska has established programs to help students, faculty and staff impacted by the historic storms. The university is also offering students and employees opportunities to help with the recovery effort.
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency | Courtesy photo
Flood water runs across roadways and into a Nebraska community after storms hit the region in March. The University of Nebraska has established programs to help students, faculty and staff impacted by the historic storms. The university is also offering students and employees opportunities to help with the recovery effort.

The University of Nebraska is seeking community leaders to serve as hosts for a new summer program that will send students to assist in recovery efforts from the recent devastating floods.

Local leaders representing government, business, education, the nonprofit world or other sectors who have ideas for service projects suited to students are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be asked to describe the projects students would perform, as well as skills that would be helpful.

Nebraska Extension specialists, together with a universitywide team that is coordinating NU’s flood response efforts, will select the community hosts after evaluating potential projects based on the mutual value they would provide for students and the communities.

“The University of Nebraska’s commitment to the state is that we’re going to be there for as long as it takes to recover from this natural disaster,” said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension. “Our new flood recovery serviceships are a great example of how the university can be a partner to the state in rebuilding while simultaneously providing our students with real-world, impactful experience serving their communities.

“We’re anxious – and we know our students are anxious – to go where we’re needed and work hand-in-hand with local leaders on the road to recovery. We hope community leaders will take this opportunity to tell us how our students can serve them best.”

Community leaders with questions on the application process or serviceship program are invited to reach out to a local Extension expert.

Based on a successful model developed by NU’s Rural Futures Institute, the flood recovery serviceship program will place up to 50 NU students in Nebraska communities for public service projects throughout the summer. Applications are open now and all undergraduate, graduate and professional students from any University of Nebraska campus can apply

Students will be paid $12.50 per hour for their work and may have the opportunity to earn college credit. The program is funded by a $250,000 investment from the University of Nebraska.

Editor's Note: This is an ongoing series of news briefs highlighting the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's response to the historic flooding across the region. The page will be updated as needed, with the most recent stories featured just below links to online resources. Submit updates to or call 402-472-8515.

Online resources

The University of Nebraska is working to support the needs of students, faculty, staff and public affected by devastation wrought by recent storms across the state and region. Below are links that feature resources for the campus community and public.

For campus — University responds to flooding
For the public — Nebraska Extension flood resources
University of Nebraska — NU systemwide flood resources

April 5, 2019

Nebraska Extension offers moisture meters to flood victims

Nebraska Extension is making moisture meters available to homeowners in areas affected by recent flooding.

“It’s important to wait until wood and other materials dry out before attempting to repair a flood-damaged home,” said Dave Varner, associate dean with Nebraska Extension. “Renovating too soon could trap moisture, leading to rotting and promoting the growth of mold.”

Nebraska Extension has made 150 moisture meters — with more coming — available at extension offices. Homeowners wanting to borrow a meter are encouraged to contact their county office. Instructions for using the meter will be provided upon checkout.

Learn more about flooding resources available through Nebraska Extension.

April 4, 2019

NU aligns to support flooding victims

University of Nebraska institutions have joined forces to support students, faculty, staff and communities impacted by the historic flooding across the region.

In an April 4 email, leaders from each of the University of Nebraska campuses outlined new programs, including human resources policies that offer options to support flood recovery efforts, and a service option that will allow up to 50 NU students to work in communities impacted by the recent storms.

The new HR policies include a five-day (40 hour) civil leave allowance through which faculty and staff can receive up to 40 hours of time off to volunteer for flood recovery efforts. The civil leave option will be available until further notice from the NU president's office.

The university has also created a catastrophic leave program that allows employees to receive up to two weeks (80 hours) of time off if they or an immediate family member have been impacted by flooding. This will allow employees who have exhausted vacation time to continue to attend to personal matters.

Faculty and staff can also donate to the catastrophic leave "bank," which will provide extra support to colleagues in crisis.

Details about these employee options are available through the campus human resources office.

The student service option will build on a Rural Futures Institute program that allows university students to serve during the summer months in communities statewide. The program will be offered to 50 students and focus on:

  • Engaging local leaders active in flood recovery efforts and contributing in ways that add value;
  • Identifying service projects (immediate and long-term) that could be addressed by teams of students, faculty and staff. These projects will be completed during the summer.
  • Applications for the flood recovery service opportunities will be available April 10. Learn more about the community service program.

    "We will be a partner as Nebraska rebuilds, however long it takes," NU leaders wrote in the systemwide email.

    Read the entire systemwide message.

    April 4, 2019

    Students report on flood response in Norfolk

    The Norfolk Daily News has started to publish flooding response and recovery stories written by students from the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

    In the first story, Mia Azizah tells how the phone of Troy Uhlir, a county commissioner, has continued to ring in the days after flood waters hit the community on March 13. Read the entire story in the Norfolk Daily News.

    The stories are part of a larger project in which Husker journalism students are reporting from communities struck by flood waters. Other stories from the project are being featured in Nebraska Today.

    March 29, 2019

    Chancellor issues flood-related note

    Chancellor Ronnie Green issued a March 29 message to the campus community, outlining the university's response to flooding and subsequent recovery efforts across the region.

    The University of Nebraska system is continuing work to develop a system to coordinate flood recovery volunteer opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Details will be announced. Huskers can learn about future service opportunities by joining the Nebraska Disaster Recovery Service Corps available through GivePulse and the Office of Civic Engagement. Group members will receive regular and timely messages about disaster recovery initiatives.

    Groups or organizations that would like to volunteer can reach out to Linda Moody, assistant director for civic engagement, via email to She is working with Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension, and his response team.

    Read the chancellor's entire message.

    March 27, 2019

    Admissions assistance available for incoming Huskers

    Nebraska's Office of Admissions has launched programs to help first-year and transfer students, graduate enrollees and law students affected by flooding and who are planning to attend in fall 2019. The programs include academic and scholarship accommodations; extending the May 1 enrollment deposit deadline or deferring the payment; deferring admission and scholarship offers until spring 2020; waiving the $45 admission application fee for new applicants; and limited availability to emergency federal grants.

    The university has also designated campus representatives that students can contact directly to discuss options. First-year and transfer undergraduate students should contact Georgia Gleason at 402-472-4772 or Graduate students can contact Alisha Hanshaw at 402-472-2869 or Law students should contact Tracy Warren at 402-472-1526 or

    Learn more about admission assistance available to students impacted by flooding.

    March 27, 2019

    Volunteer opportunities are coming

    University of Nebraska leaders are working to develop a process through which students, faculty and staff can volunteer as individuals or groups to assist with flood recovery efforts.

    "It is important that volunteer efforts be focused on critical issues where impacted communities genuinely need our help," said Chuck Hibberd, dean and director of Nebraska Extension.

    Hibberd is leading the development of campus volunteer resources. When complete, the process will work with recovery authorities to direct the university response so that it makes an efficient and lasting impact within the affected communities. While there is a desire to help immediately, the campus community has been asked to be patient as state and community officials have stressed that flood recovery is going to be a multi-year process with a need for volunteers throughout.

    Details on the volunteer process will be announced.

    March 26, 2019

    Free legal aid available

    Nebraska Law students are participating in a disaster relief project led by Legal Aid of Nebraska.

    The student volunteers will work with Ryan Sullivan, professor of law, providing free legal assistance as needed to individuals impacted by the flooding. Key legal areas expected include insurance issues, government benefits, housing-related problems for renters and owners, contractor fraud, and document recovery.

    The project gives Nebraska Law students firsthand experience working with real-world law issues prior to graduation. All student-led work will be reviewed and approved by a practicing attorney.

    Learn more about how to apply for legal assistance online or by calling 1-844-268-5627.

    March 25, 2019

    Monetary donations are best

    At this time, monetary donations are the best option to assist with flooding recovery efforts. While individual items were called for initially, the continuing need to sort and deliver goods can create an extra burden for disaster response teams and volunteers.

    “Funds can be used for everything from finding housing when shelters are full to feeding first responders and volunteers,” said Ryan Lowery, a research specialist with the Nebraska Public Policy Center.

    The campus community can also give blood to assist with recovery efforts.

    To supply monetary donations:

  • The NU Foundation has established a University of Nebraska Emergency Assistance Fund, which will help current students and employees who face financial hardship resulting from emergency or crisis situations.
  • The State of Nebraska has launched a Nebraska Strong website with information on how to donate, request resources and offer support statewide.
  • A list featuring ways to give is featured in the Lincoln Journal-Star.

  • March 24, 2019

    Journalism students seek flood stories

    The College of Journalism and Mass Communications is mobilizing to give students the opportunity to report stories related to flooding and the ongoing recovery effort across the state and region. Forums to organize the project were held March 25-26.

    The project will feature faculty-led trips into communities where students will develop stories, some in partnership with local media. Initial areas of focus include working with the Norfolk Daily News for coverage around Norfolk on March 29-30 and covering cleanup in Fremont on April 1. The Norfolk trip will be led by Michelle Hassler and Jennifer Sheppard, associate professors of practice. Coverage in Fremont will be led by Barney McCoy, professor of broadcasting.

    Stories from the series will be featured in Nebraska Today.

    March 22, 2019

    Bookstore is accepting donations

    The University Bookstore in the Nebraska Union, which is part of the Follett Corporation, has partnered with the American Red Cross of Nebraska and Southwest Iowa Region to collect monetary donations for flood recovery. Learn more by visiting the bookstore.

    March 21, 2019

    Huskers collect $28K for flood relief

    The Huskers collected $28,541 toward flood relief during the first round men’s basketball National Invitation Tournament game between Nebraska and Butler University. More than 10,000 fans attended the March 20 Husker victory at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

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