Focus on Students
Alternative Spring Break

Chesapeake students use break to help others

Posted on Friday, March 08, 2013

Chesapeake students will make a difference in the lives of disaster survivors when they travel back to New Orleans this month in what will be their 5th Alternate Spring Break (ASB) community service trip.

Instead of heading to Florida to party with the rest of the nation’s college students, members of the Student Government Association (SGA) will pack their bags to work with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans repairing the Hurricane Katrina damage that exists to this day.

"It will be eight years this August since Katrina destroyed thousands of homes and businesses and you can still see the damage in many places" says Director of Student Life Rohry Flood.

The Chesapeake group will be leaving Maryland "bright and early on the morning of the March 18 and returning on the 24th.

SGA President Jenni Jordan will be enjoying her second ASB trip this year.

"My first alternative spring break trip was last year to Tuscaloosa and it was amazing," she said. "I’ve always wanted to travel, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to travel and help others in the process."

"The sights, sounds, and being a part of the rebuilding... it’s all going to be fantastic!" she said when asked what she’s looking forward to the most about this year’s trip. "Not to mention the drive down there and seeing everything along the way."

Prior to the spring break trip, the students helped locally with a Habitat for Humanity project in Easton

Sara Jones, the Service Learning Coordinator at Chesapeake College, will also be traveling with ASB group. She worked with Habitat for Humanity in 2010 when she was a student at Chesapeake and went on that ASB trip to New Orleans.

"As a group we got to experience the culture, music, food, and people in the great city of New Orleans. I am very excited that we are going back and I can’t wait for the students to experience a whole new world that is New Orleans," she said. Describing it as "an unforgettable experience,"

Sara said the experience bonds everyone in the group in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, while at the same time, they meet new people from other areas of the country.

"The spirit the people of New Orleans had, even though they may have had literally nothing, was moving and made my experience that much more worthwhile," she said. They haven’t been told exactly where they will be working in New Orleans, but they do know that they will work alongside people who are applying for homes with Habitat. The students said they are grateful to be able to make a difference to so many in so many different ways.

"Knowing we made a difference in at least one person’s life is more rewarding than you will ever know," Jones said.

First organized by Flood, the ASB trips began in 2009 to help clean up after Hurricane Katrina. "I had seen a lot of other schools doing community service trips and some of the Maryland colleges were in the first few years of the program, so I wanted to make sure we had a similar offering for our students," Rohry says.

Previous trips include Nashville, Tenn. and the Tuscaloosa trip that Jordan first attended. Although the Chesapeake students are usually teamed up with other colleges on a work site, they worked on an entire house by themselves in Nashville.

"We went nonstop for two days," Flood said. "When we showed up it was a pile of lumber and a concrete slab, after two days we had the whole outside of the house done. Pretty amazing! The amount of work that these students accomplish in the five days on site is breathtaking."

The Alternate Spring Break is something the SGA begins planning in the autumn and looks forward to each year.

The Student Government office is located on the first floor of the Caroline Center, room C-104. To contact Student Government, call 410-822-5400, 410-758-1537, or 410-228-4360, extension 394 or send an email to studentgov@chesapeake.edu. Meetings are Wednesdays at 2:30 pm, Caroline 216.

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