Gustavus Students Lend a Hand in New Orleans Area

Posted on April 13th, 2007 by

Gustavus students work with fellow volunteers. (Photo by Megan Olson)

Gustavus students work with fellow volunteers. (Photo by Megan Olson)


Junior Lindsay Peterson and sophomore John Bussey work on a roofing project. (Photo by Riley Karbon)

Junior Lindsay Peterson and sophomore John Bussey work on a roofing project. (Photo by Riley Karbon)


Junior Zach Walgenbach pounds in a nail. (Photo by Heather Rusk)

Junior Zach Walgenbach pounds in a nail. (Photo by Heather Rusk)

Ninety-four Gustavus Adolphus College students took two busses south to Slidell, La., a suburb of New Orleans, March 30-April 7 during the College’s spring break not to bask in the sun on a sandy beach, but to take part in the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge.

The week-long trip provided Gustavus students the opportunity to serve the area that was heavily hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Sophomore Zeb Zacharias will share thoughts and highlights from the trip at the 10 a.m. daily chapel service on Monday, April 16.

The group combined to put in more than 3,000 hours of labor, worked on 27 houses, and performed a number of construction duties including wall framing, window framing, siding, roofing, and the building of porches and decks.

“It was a unique spring break opportunity for Gustavus students to have the chance to give back to a community that has been so devastated,” said Heather Rusk, Gustavus sophomore and the trip’s student coordinator. “It was a meaningful way to spend spring break and the students not only enjoyed their time, but also have a better understanding of the scope of the situation caused by Hurricane Katrina.”

The group also learned about the community and culture by participating in some evening activities including a southern food fry at a local church, swamp tours, Cajun-line dancing, and a visit to the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Gustavus students have a long tradition of coordinating service trips and this year’s trip was unique in that all participating students went to one location as opposed to having smaller groups of students dispersed throughout the country.

“We wanted to bring it all together as one trip versus 10 trips to 10 different places,” said Dave Newell, Gustavus Community Service Program Director. “The students expressed interest in going to the New Orleans area and that happened to be one of the sites that could handle as many students as we were bringing.”

For more information about Gustavus community service programs go to www.gustavus.edu/communityservice.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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