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Northeastern students dig in, shovel neighborhood spaces

Northeastern students braved the cold Thursday to help shovel snow in the Back Bay Fens.
Northeastern students braved the cold Thursday to help shovel snow in the Back Bay Fens.(Brooks Canaday/Northeastern University)

As Mayor Martin J. Walsh looked for help from the National Guard and equipment from out-of-state to remove the snow on the ground, students from Northeastern University decided to pitch in the old-fashioned way: with shovels.

University officials announced Thursday that they special ordered 200 shovels after hearing from students who wanted to help clear snow around campus and in nearby neighborhoods.

“We are trying to mobilize, and have students come together on this,” said Hilary Sullivan, associate director for service and community partnerships at Northeastern.

The snow-removal efforts started Tuesday and will continue through the rest of the week.

Student volunteers are being tasked with clearing sidewalks, pathways, and fire hydrants in neighborhoods near the school. They will work two-hour shifts over the next four days, supervised by university employees. The school is also coordinating with fraternities and athletics teams on campus to aid in the shoveling.

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Sullivan said while dozens of students have already participated this week, more are expected to join the effort over the weekend, after a forecasted blizzard sweeps through Boston.

“We are trying to see what our capacity is going to be, and from there we will continue to make a list of what areas the community is identifying for us to shovel,” Sullivan said.

The idea was inspired by Walsh’s earlier call for residents to help shovel out their neighbors following previous storms.

Related:

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Walsh calls for T to close for weekend snowstorm


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.