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Students cross continent for spring break service project

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: (907) 474-7902

03/09/07

A team of a dozen students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks will spend spring break working with Habitat for Humanity in St. Bernard Parish, a community about 20 minutes outside New Orleans, La. The parish was one of the areas hit hardest by hurricanes Katrina and Rita and more than 300 homes in the area still need clean-up.

The trip, dubbed "Alternative Spring Break," is organized by the UAF Leadership Program. The team formed in January and has been working since on logistics and fundraising for the nearly 3,500-mile trip that will take them to the other side of the continent. Once there, the students will work alongside teams from across the nation to clean out homes of elderly and disabled residents who have been unable to do the work themselves. The students also may help with new construction efforts by the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

The project offers students an opportunity to participate in a public service project, as well as to learn about poverty housing issues and how to advocate for those affected by those concerns, whether in New Orleans or Fairbanks. This is the second year UAF has participated in alternative spring break, an activity involving schools across the nation.

"We are trying to instill the value of civic engagement in our students," said J.J. Boggs, coordinator of the UAF Leadership Program. She noted that students bring that awareness back to their home communities and may be more likely to get involved in local service projects in the future.

CONTACT: Marmian Grimes, UAF public information officer, at (907) 474-7902 or via e-mail at marmian.grimes@uaf.edu. J.J. Boggs, Leadership Program coordinator, at (907) 474-1183 or via e-mail at jj.boggs@uaf.edu.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Journalists can reach the team in Louisiana by contacting team leader Kari Pile at (907) 388-1114.