Gustavus students retrieving possessions this week

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 4/7/98.

College students at Gustavus Adolphus were told not to come near the school until notified. Many of the collegeís dorms and classrooms were in shambles.

Two Paynesville natives who are students at the college were away on Habitat for Humanity projects when the tornado hit their school. Beth Nelson, a freshman, lives on the fourth floor of ďNorth.Ē Junior Christine Torborg lives on the first floor of ďSohry.Ē

Nelson said the Habitat for Humanity project coordinator in Philadelphia informed them of the devastation back home and encouraged the students to call for information. ďWe spent the whole week calling the college for information and were given pretty vague answers,Ē Beth said.

Chuck Nelson, Bethís dad, drove down to St. Peter last week to see if he could check on her belongings. He was turned away from the campus area by the National Guard. However, he did find her car in a parking lot on a different section of the college. Her car was totalled by the storm. ďThe windows were blown out pretty bad,Ē Beth said.

Beth returned home to Paynesville on Sunday, April 5. She hasnít been to St. Peter yet.

Torborg was on a trip to Omaha, Neb., and they were told not to come back as nobody was allowed on campus. Upon returning to St. Peter on Saturday, she caught a ride with a friend to the Twin Cities and met her parents on Sunday.

On Monday, April 6, students were being allowed back into their dorms, one dorm at a time to clean out their possessions. Torborgís allotted time on Monday was between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Students were told to meet at the Lutheran church and they would be taken to their dorms and given boxes for packing things they wanted to save. Then they would be taken back to the church where they could load their possessions into their cars and head home again.

Christine felt things could have been worse after cleaning out her dorm room Monday. She had found the carpet had already been torn up in the halls and in the rooms. Things that were once on shelves, were dumped into garbage bags and left in the rooms.

ďEverything that I had in drawers or in the closed I saved,Ē she said. Whatever was left out in the open, she is going to let the college toss as it is embedded with glass.

Christine said she was surprised to see the fish tank and fish had survived the storm as they were located in front of the window. Many of the plants in the room also survived.

Christine added the many students tried to gain access to some of their rooms, but the locks had been changed. Students whose rooms werenít damaged are storing many items for their friends so they donít have to haul things back and forth.

Sharon Torborg, Christineís mother, said the students need an ID to get on campus. What they donít take out of their dorms during their designated time will be tossed.

Sharon considered Christine among the lucky students because all the first floor rooms were boarded up to protect them from the elements and looters.

Beth Nelson will be allowed on campus Friday, April 10, to clean out her dorm room.

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