A group of 28 students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will travel to New Orleans over spring break to help rebuild homes hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The students are participating in Missouri S&T’s Miner Challenge 2010, an alternative spring break program sponsored by the university’s student life department. The students will work with Rebuilding Together New Orleans, a volunteer service organization that repairs and renovates homes in that city. Founded in 1988, RTNO modified its mission after Hurricane Katrina to focus on repairing homes in the storm-damaged areas of the city.
The Miner Challenge team departs for New Orleans on Sunday, March 28, and will return on Saturday, April 3. The team will spend four days (Monday through Thursday) working on the renovation project and will also explore the city during their evenings and on Friday, April 2.
This is the third year S&T students have participated in an alternative spring break project under the Miner Challenge banner. Two years ago, the team worked with the Western Youth Network Inc. of Boone, N.C., and Habitat for Humanity on a project in Boone. Last year, Miner Challenge students worked with Habitat to build homes in Mobile, Ala., as part of Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge.
Students who have participated in previous projects say the experience leaves them with a strong sense of community betterment, says Malinda Love, Missouri S&T’s student program administrator for volunteerism and involvement.
“They talk about how the program is a great opportunity to help out in a community and they love to see what they have contributed after the project is complete,” Love says.
The project also gives many students a chance to experience new cultures, Love says.
“Last year, some of the students had never been to the ocean,” she says of the experience in Mobile. “This year, many of our students will see New Orleans for the first time.”
Love and Joni Burch, resident director at S&T’s Residential College, will accompany the students on the trip.
The Miner Challenge alternative spring break project is open to any Missouri S&T student. Love and others in the student life department promote the opportunity to students and require each participant to pay $200 toward the cost of the trip. The rest of the funding is raised by the students through various fundraising projects throughout the year.
During spring break, participants will have the opportunity to post updates about their experience and photos on the Miner Challenge blog.
Students participating in the event are:
• Jeff Banderet of Fenton, Mo., a sophomore in architectural engineering.
• Samantha Bargiel of Caseyville, Ill., a sophomore in architectural engineering.
• James Carroll of Springfield, Mo., a senior in electrical engineering.
• Spencer Evans of Brumley, Mo., a sophomore in mining engineering.
• Sean Everett of Newport News, Va., a senior in business and management systems.
• Lauren Frazier of Laclede, Mo., a sophomore in engineering.
• Yishak Habtemichael of Florissant, Mo., a freshman in engineering.
• Tanyekia Hale of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., a junior in electrical engineering.
• Kierstyn Harvey of St. Albans, Mo., a graduate student in civil engineering.
• Erin Hellebusch of Marthasville, Mo., a junior in mechanical engineering.
• Brian Koenig of St. Louis, a senior in aerospace engineering and one of the group’s planning team leaders.
• Rachel LaFiore of St. Charles, Mo., a freshman in computer science.
• Neil Lawhead of Licking, Mo., a senior in electrical engineering.
• Janelle Lewis of Rolla, Mo., a junior in chemical engineering.
• Erik Lorince of O’Fallon, Mo., a senior in aerospace engineering and one of the group’s planning team leaders.
• Jamila McNair of St. Louis, a sophomore in biological sciences.
• Brandon Meadows of Walnut Shade, Mo., a senior in chemical engineering.
• Jason Murphey of St. Louis, a senior in civil engineering.
• Jessica Myers of Liberty, Mo., a sophomore in mechanical engineering.
• Matt Nickols of Wentzville, Mo., a senior in mechanical engineering.
• David Oduyemi of St. Louis, a sophomore in mechanical engineering.
• Jeremy Ohse of New Haven, Mo., a senior in business and management systems.
• Korey Skala of Columbia, Mo., a senior in ceramic engineering.
• Bianca Smith of St. Louis, a sophomore in architectural engineering.
• Amber Thedford of Florissant, Mo., a freshman in biological sciences.
• Adrienne Walter of Mascoutah, Ill., a senior in electrical engineering.
• Samantha Washburn of St. Louis, a senior in mechanical engineering.
• Nick Zimmerman of St. Peters, Mo., a senior in civil engineering.