CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - This weekend more than 100 students from Southeast Missouri State University are trading in computers and papers for shovels and gloves.
In the midst of a busy holiday schedule they're carving out time to travel north and help tornado victims.
It started within the Greek community and spread to include other students and organizations.
The EF4 tornado that ripped through Washington, Illinois killed one and left a trail of destruction in its wake.
SEMO students are rallying around the cause, making the 4.5 hour drive to help with clean up efforts.
"I thought that this was the perfect opportunity for the Southeast students to step up and get involved and make an impact," said Inter-fraternity Council President Nick Maddock.
The devastation in Washington resonates with Nick. He witnessed the damage in Joplin.
So he started a volunteer effort at the university that quickly gained support.
"Show them that there are people out there who really care and willing to help them and lend a hand no matter what and just kind of give them that hope that they need," said volunteer Robyn Shanahan.
Within 72 hours the group raised more than $4,200.
The group is partnering with Rubicon Veterans Association on the ground in Washington.
"To get a group of 100 students who are young and active and ready to work is a spark of enthusiasm for them," said Maddock. "They definitely need the help. They definitely need the hands-on volunteers."
Hands-on is exactly what they'll be. Volunteers will clean debris and distribute supplies.
Others will get the more personal task of what they call "search and finds."
"You know let's say someone's looking for a wedding dress that was in their house or a closet or something like that or they're looking for pictures or a jewelry cabinet. The individual homeowners tell us what they need and we try to find it within the rubble," Maddock said.
Buried and scattered throughout that rubble are memories belonging to some of the student volunteers. A few who call Washington home.
While the semester nears its end these students are making goodwill a priority.
"There definitely is a lot of work out on the table, but I think the community understands what's going on here and that there's bigger priorities that need to be addressed," added Maddock.