When UNC mom Christine Senn received texts from her son about an armed and dangerous person on UNC's campus on Monday, she felt “helpless."
She lives an hour away, but she knew she wanted to do something to help. The next day, she was handing out pizza in front of the Undergraduate Library with her son.
A number of other parents, alumni and on-campus organizations are supporting students following Monday’s events.
“There’s never something that’s too little,” Senn said.
A short distance from Senn, in front of Lenoir Dining Hall, Chapel Hill community member and father of four Sandy Alexander and his wife offered students comfort with snacks and pets of their dog, Fuller.
Alexander, whose daughter attends UNC, wanted to do what he could for the mental health of students.
“I think for a lot of students, it’s the first time away from home, certainly for the freshmen,” he said. “Maybe they just need a centering device or centering species like a dog that reminds them of home and something more comforting than being all independent living on a campus during a tragedy like that, that's pretty daunting.”
After yesterday, HAPPEE Hugs and Pups — an organization begun by moms that can often be found on campus offering hugs and dog pets to students — received about 40 new applications for student and parent volunteers, according to Cathy Emrick, one of the group’s co-founders.
Emrick was on campus yesterday when the shelter-in-place order went into effect. Her daughter, a senior, was sheltering in the basement of South Building.