By Bailey VenJohn, Daniel VanSickle, Min Jiao, Maggie Dunning and Jonathan Woon

Southwestern kicked off homecoming week with the annual service learning project Sunday afternoon.

Students gathered in Stewart Fieldhouse to experience a disaster simulation. As they arrived they were given numbers and assigned into random groups.

The simulation was as if the town had been hit by a tornado. Each group was given a packet that told them their exact situation caused by the tornado.

Multiple people and organizations helped to coordinate this event with high hopes for success.

“I hope this event will inspire people to get involved with their community and make a difference and help out their neighbors both informally and on a formal level,” said Lindsey Wilke, assistant director of leadership.

The event was inspired by tornados in Moore, Oklahoma. Missouri and Oklahoma have both practiced simulations like this.

“I think that people in the future will be somehow affected by a natural disaster, while a person may not themselves experience it first-hand they can help somebody in need,” said Ashlee Alley, campus minister about her hopes for the simulation.

Students learned a lot from the event.

“I learned about helping people through disasters, specifically floods after tornados,” said Brent Williams, business freshman.

Spencer Starr,  junior, said, “A real disaster seems like it’d be hard to navigate through. The [voluntary] institutions in place made the simulation a lot easier.”

“I learned that insurance is more important than you would expect, it is about the only thing that keeps you from losing everything,” said Seth Topham, bio-chemistry freshman.

The event ended at 4 p.m. with a kit-packaging event for communities hit with natural disasters.

UpdateSC is the student media of Southwestern College, Winfield, Kansas.