Students Dedicate Spring Break to Helping Storm Victims
DuBois – Two groups of students from Penn State DuBois recently went south for spring break. However, these students did not hit the beach or spend the week partying.
A total of nine Penn State DuBois students spent their spring break working to aid in the relief efforts in Mississippi, where communities are still recovering from the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Student Life Coordinator Marly Greeley led students Adam Hicks, Chris Kolp, Jennie Korb, Alina Bumbarger, Crystal Vicklund and Melissa Livergood to Gulfport, Mississippi, near Biloxi. In helping to remodel a home damaged by the hurricane, these students painted, laid flooring and installed base board and fixtures.
"I am very excited that Penn State gave me the opportunity to travel down to Mississippi, and to help a hurricane Katrina survivor fix up her home," said Vicklund. "I was amazed to see just how much damage was done. It has been almost five years and there is still so much work to be done down there."
International Student Services Coordinator Tharren Thompson organized another group of three students to volunteer in the Mississippi Gulf Coast region through the campus Christian Student Fellowship. With Thompson were students Kayla Barr, Kyle Gordon and Philip Myers, who spent the week replacing the roof on a house that had been badly damaged by Katrina.
"I am very proud of the way these students sacrificed their spring break to put in the kind of hard work under adverse conditions that was necessary to give these homeowners some hope in the middle of what is still a very difficult situation," Thompson said. "This trip has had a powerful impact on our students’ lives, and the experience has motivated them to seek out other ways to help people in need, whether in their home community, or around the world."
Greeley said the trip make a similar impact on the students she worked with. "I'm impressed with how much the students learned and how they felt over those few days. It is definitely an experience they won't forget," she said.
Both groups of students volunteered through the emergency and refugee program, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Greeley said a similar service-oriented trip will be planned for next year.