UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service-Learning sponsored service trips to the Gulf Coast for relief in the wake of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina from 2005 to 2011. Several years there were multiple trips.
In total, 474 UNCG volunteers traveled to do service, for an accumulated 15,642 hours of service.
Dr. Rick Reitzug (Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations) went on 10 UNCG trips – six to New Orleans, three to Biloxi, and one to Waveland, Miss, “the exact location where Katrina made landfall,” he recalled this week.
He once wrote in an ELC newsletter (after his ninth UNCG trip to the region) about the “moral purpose” that underlies the trips. “On these trips, everyone is engaged in very demanding physical work, often in hot, humid weather and atrociously filthy conditions – 4 years of post-Katrina mold, cockroaches, rotting wood, etc. But no one EVER complains. I think it’s because everyone is working not for themselves, but in service to others.”
A recap after the 2008-09 trips in OLSL archives says, “Each participant’s experience is different, but they typically come away from the trips with three things in common: surprise at just how much is yet to be done in the region, a determination to give back more to the Gulf and their home communities, and a lasting bond with the other participants.”
Dr. Cathy Hamilton, director of the UNCG Office of Leadership and Service-Learning, says that several students went first as trip participants, then trip leaders for multiple trips and then moved to live and work in New Orleans upon graduation.
A look back at the service-learning trips to the Gulf Region:
December 16, 2005 Catholic Social Services, Office of Long Term Recovery
(Diocese of Biloxi) Biloxi, Miss. (poor, elderly disabled)
March 2006 Hilltop Rescue and Relief, New Orleans, LA
May 2006 Hilltop Rescue and Relief, New Orleans, LA
December 2006 Hilltop Rescue and Relief, New Orleans, LA
March 2007 Camp Coastal Outpost, Bay St. Louis, Miss.
May 2007 1. Rhino: Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans, New Orleans,
2. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, New Orleans, LA
January 2008 1. Biloxi, Miss.
2. Camp Hope, New Orleans, LA
March 2008 1. Seashore United Methodist Assembly, Biloxi, Miss.
2. Pass Christian, Miss.
January 2009 1. Relief Spark, Inc., River Ridge, LA
2. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Houma, LA
Working with Rebuilding Together
Spring Break 2009 1. Pearlington, Miss.
2. Biloxi, Miss.
January 2010 United Saints Recovery Project, New Orleans, LA
March 2010 Biloxi, Miss.
January 2011 Adullam Christian Fellowship and City of Hope, Arabi, LA
Compiled by Mike Harris (information courtesy OLSL)
Photo courtesy Dr. Rick Reitzug, UNCG service trip to New Orleans, March 2006
See other Katrina-related posts in CW this month:
10 years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf; Steve Kroll-Smith’s research
Tara Green: Hurricane Katrina in reality and as metaphor