Three ETSU students lost their homes in the fires that struck Gatlinburg in November 2016.
The university registrar office has also identified approximately 242 students who have home addresses in Sevier County.
“The level of impact is different for each one of those students,” said Michelle Byrd, the assistant dean of students.
University officials say they’re doing what they can to ensure these students are cared for.
Heather Miller, the undergraduate student success specialist, was one of several university officials that reached out to all the students with home addresses in the effected area following the fire.
“There were multiple that did have family members whose homes were destroyed,” Miller said.
“They were impacted simply by witnessing everything that has happened.”
The university conducted a survey of the effected students and have set up a support group.
Of the three students impacted by the fire, one is not registered for classes in the spring.
The other two are registered for coursework.
Several student, faculty and staff organizations on campus have looked into the possibility of providing donations, either to individual students or to relief efforts.
Because a lot of the tangible needs have been filled, most of the direct support the university is focusing on right now is volunteer efforts.
Dolly Parton’s My People Fund has been fully funded and the need for basic items has decreased.
Student Government Association President Pooja Shah went to Gatlinburg on Jan. 21 as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, an event hosted by SGA and the ETSU Office of Community Service.
Shah was accompanied by about 20 to 30 students and faculty.
The volunteers did not get a chance to go out and clear the damage, but they did get involved in sorting donations, such as clothes, shoes and toothbrushes.
“Some of our volunteers also helped check in and guide individuals who were affected by the fires and receiving donations,” Shah said. “It was incredible to see the amount of items that had been donated, reflective of the widespread effort from our community and beyond in helping the families affected by the fires.”
Shah said the university hopes to make the MLK Day of Service an annual tradition.
“We hope to help wherever help is needed in the community,” Shah said. “Because Gatlinburg was recently affected, we thought that our efforts would be most helpful there this year.“