Dr. Michael T. Benson, president of Eastern Kentucky University, shoveled a student’s driveway in response to a tweet, and is receiving national attention for doing so.
Benson was out shoveling his own driveway one morning, when he received a tweet from a student, Devan Dannelly, who thought that classes should be cancelled following a large snowstorm.
Yo @EKUPrez come shovel my driveway/road and I’ll come to class tomorrow… deal???
— Devan Dannelly (@devdanne11y) February 17, 2015
“I see this tweet, and I go in to my wife, and I said, ‘I’m going to surprise a student. I just want to see the look on his face when I show up to shovel his driveway,'” Benson told the Deseret News.
Benson replied to the tweet, asking Dannelly for his address, grabbed a friend to help, and arrived at the student’s home less than an hour later. After shoveling, Benson and his friend were invited in to share a meal with Dannelly and his family.
Many EKU students have since participated in this driveway-clearing frenzy, offering to help fellow students, and reporting on how many driveways they have shoveled because of Benson’s response. These efforts have also been reported around the country and all over the world.
“I had no idea it was going to go like this,” Benson said. “But if students are somehow encouraged to help others and pitch in, then that is a very positive by-product.”
Benson does his best to have consistent positive interactions with the students, hoping to give them a glimpse into what it means to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he is one of the only LDS people many of them have gotten to know.
After he finished shoveling, Benson tweeted the following:
— Michael Benson (@EKUPrez) February 17, 2015
As irony would have it, classes were cancelled the next two days, according to TODAY News. Dannelly still showed up to campus just to keep up his end of the bargain.
— Devan Dannelly (@DADannelly11) February 18, 2015
Benson told the Deseret News:
I’m just an ordinary person that is trying to, I hope, make a difference, and I hope that students see that.
Benson is an active member of LDS Church, BYU graduate, and grandson of former President Ezra Taft Benson. He enjoys the opportunities he has to share his beliefs with students daily as he serves them both on and off campus.