Alternative Spring Break
What do the words “spring break” evoke in your imagination? Parties on the beach? Wanton revelry? Students gone wild?
Not for 16 UB MBAs who traveled to New Orleans on an “alternative” spring break from March 9 to 14, joining students from the University of Central Florida and the University of Vermont for an extensive community service project.
The contingent of volunteers, 50 in all, was part of the Hope for Stanley Foundation’s 18th trip to New Orleans. The organization was founded by the Sports Business Management Program at the University of Central Florida. They have been visiting New Orleans and providing relief since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2006.
The volunteers contributed 1,360 hours of service to the Greater New Orleans area, renovating one baseball field at Norman Playground in Algiers, Louisiana, and two baseball fields at Joe Brown Park in New Orleans East, finishing just in time for local little league and high school teams to begin their playing seasons.
Next, the group spent two days working with Historic Green New Orleans, an organization concentrated on “green” construction and deconstruction. Students worked with reclaimed wood to be used in rebuilt homes, helping with Historic Green’s vision of making the Lower 9th Ward the nation’s first carbon-neutral community. They also worked on the home of Ward “Mack” McClendon, the founder of The Village, a developing community center in the heart of the Lower 9th Ward.
“We did a ton of really great work and met a bunch of wonderful people and community members. They told us their stories from when the hurricane hit and everyone was just so welcoming and thankful.”
Samantha Roth, MBA ’10
Volunteers assisted in cleaning up 2,500 pounds of weeds and trash along the St. Claude Avenue corridor, and delivered four tons of sheet rock to resident Brenda Dupre. In addition, a group of volunteers cleaned up debris in the ongoing restoration of the Bayou Bienvenue Wetland Triangle.
“The trip was amazing!” says Samantha Roth, MBA ’10, who led the UB team’s participation. “We did a ton of really great work and met a bunch of wonderful people and community members. They told us their stories from when the hurricane hit and everyone was just so welcoming and thankful.”
In addition to Roth, the UB MBA students who participated in the trip were Alex Banfai, Armando Barnica, Chris Carlson, Matt Clouden, Alina Cofas, Lindsey Coffey, Joel DeMarco, Josh Flood, Leo Flores, Robert Goris, Pu He, Richard Sherry, Melissa Snyder, Ellen Wang and Andrea Ward.
Roth says that an added benefit to the trip for the UB MBAs was that they became very close, even though they didn’t know each other well when they left Buffalo.
“Thanks to generous financial donations from the School of Management Alumni Association, Dean Arjang Assad and family members of those participating in the trip, we had a wonderful experience and were able to do some good in the process,” says Roth.
“We are also grateful to our fellow students who provided donations and strong support at our fundraising event, as well as some faculty, staff and people in the community,” Roth adds. “Without them, this trip would not have been possible.”