250 College Students Will Rebuild Homes During Spring Break – Feb 23, 2006
Baton Rouge, La. – Some 250 college students from the University of Louisiana System’s eight universities will spend their Spring break rebuilding homes that were lost during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
“Our students will trade their off-time for overtime as they work to help others by providing the basic need of a home. We are emphasizing service-learning as a component of our students’ college experiences, and this project is a unique and meaningful way to emphasize that training,” said UL System President Dr. Sally Clausen.
“Extreme Spring Break 2006: Students Rebuilding Louisiana” will run April 19-23 and will be hosted by Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond and McNeese State University in Lake Charles. Those regions of South Louisiana were heavily damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
According to a report by the Louisiana Recovery Authority and FEMA, the hurricanes displaced more than 1.4 million people, damaged 217,000 homes and 18,000 businesses, created $25 billion in insured losses, and created the equivalent of 50 years of coastal erosion in two days.
ULS students say they can’t fix everything damaged or destroyed by the hurricanes, but they’ll do what they can, working during their Spring break instead of partying or getting a suntan on the beach.
Students will work with Habitat for Humanity to build homes in affected Gulf Coast areas. They will also spend their mealtimes learning about how to start or enhance student service programs back home on their campuses.
Mallory Wall, SGA president at McNeese and ULS student board member, said she appreciates the help from fellow students statewide. Wall’s family evacuated to Monroe for two weeks during Rita and returned to a heavily damaged home and campus.
“Our area needs so much help, and I am grateful to so many students who will spend their spring break helping our region. I believe it will be a very fulfilling and emotional time for all of us,” Wall said.
Paul Donaldson, Southeastern’s SGA president, was forced to evacuate to Texas and Mississippi during Katrina. Several members of Donaldson’s SGA staff lost their homes while other staffers had friends who were in New Orleans during the aftermath of the hurricane.
“We won’t only build homes – we will build lasting relationships and lay the foundation for service programs on campuses statewide to address other needs,” said Donaldson.
The intensive service program is open to all students, faculty and staff in the UL System’s eight universities and is being organized primarily by Student Government Association (SGA) presidents in conjunction with their universities and UL System staff.
Extreme Spring Break will accept a total of 250 students from the eight ULS universities: Grambling State, Louisiana Tech, McNeese, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Southeastern, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
Students will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis and may apply online at www.ulsystem.net. A $40 non-refundable fee covers the five days of housing, meals, programming, insurance and t-shirts. Those students who don’t require housing will only pay a $20 fee.
The University of Louisiana System and its eight institutions are active participants of the American Democracy Project – a co-operative initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), The New York Times, and AASCU Member-Institutions to increase civic engagement among college students. The project involves 183 campuses representing more than 1.7 million students.
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