DUBOIS – Many college students from our area travel south for spring break. Often, students seek a location in a warmer climate to spend a week relaxing and taking in some sun. This spring break, however, a group of students from Penn State DuBois will go south for some very different reasons. Five students will travel to Biloxi, Mississippi to remodel homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. Organizing the trip is Penn State DuBois Student Life Coordinator, Marly Greeley.
“They’re going to help people reconstruct their homes instead of taking advantage of some free time to go somewhere warmer, earn extra money working, or spending time with family and friends,” Greeley said. “I have heard from quite a few students that would like to take part in this project. I am thankful to have the opportunity to work with such caring, compassionate students.”
Students will install drywall, paint, install flooring, install windows and perform any other task necessary to renovate homes that were severely damaged by the storm. No prior experience in construction work is necessary.
Greeley says the fact that there is still so much work to do two years after the storm illustrates how important it is for volunteers to help those impacted by it. Penn State DuBois students, she says, have tried to support efforts in the south since the storm hit.
“Over the past two years students have shown concern for the Katrina victims and a strong interest in doing something for them. They’ve already made an attempt to aid the recovery effort by sending donations,” said Greeley.
Greeley hopes students who make the trip to Biloxi will also bring back a sense of accomplishment and pride. She said, “I hope they realize the impact they are making by volunteering their time to help these people. I also feel that each of these students will learn something about themselves while there.” She continues, “This will help develop them as leaders and as people”.
The estimated cost for the group’s travel expenses comes in at around $3,500. Greeley hopes most of those costs can be covered by donations. The group will fly out of Pittsburgh March 9 and return March 14.