Jefferson City Tornado Cleanup Gets Assistance from A&S Students

Students in Professor Jerry Frank's "Acts of God: An Environmental History of Natural Disasters" class volunteered to assist in the cleanup following the May 22 tornado in Jefferson City. The group includes Saige Bexten, Alexandra Cappetta, Noah Carroll, Marigrace Heinze, Skylar Irwin, Peter Leipold, Tianyu Liu, Olivia McKee, and Erin O'Connor and Prof. Frank.

As they approached Jefferson City to assist in the cleanup from the May 22 tornado, a group of MU students say they were shocked to see houses submerged in what looked like a lake surrounding Highway 63.

“There was this striking image of these kids kicking a ball back and forth in front of a house that was destroyed,” says Noah Carroll, a Chicago native who graduated in May with a degree in philosophy and a minor in English. “Those kids acted like there was nothing wrong—just a normal, sunny day.”

For the past four years, Associate Professor of History Jerry Frank has taught a “Maymester” course on natural disasters. The two-week history course is called Acts of God: An Environmental History of Natural Disasters. The course is divided into equal parts theory and history of natural disasters, followed by visits to various hazard and disaster sites across Missouri.