UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | September 30, 2023

Participants in alternative spring break to travel to New Orleans

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Some Dixie State University students will get the chance to help those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina more than 10 years after the disaster. 

Gabbie Holbrook, a senior integrated studies major from Taylorsville and alternative breaks coordinator for the DSU Student Association, said she looked through different location spots and projects to decide what destination to choose for the alternative break.

The alternative break program is where students get the chance to go to different places and do service-oriented projects on academic breaks. A group of DSU students went to San Francisco for spring break last year.  

“When it comes to this alternative break, you can’t just look at the location,” Holbrook said. “You have to look at what service projects would be offered and what’s going to make the biggest impact.”

The poverty level in Louisiana increased, homes are still in need of repairs, and people are still living in temporary homes after hurricane Katrina and hurricane Isaac made landfall, Holbrook said.

Dillon McKinney, a junior mathematics major from St. George and vice president of service, said he was surprised when he heard New Orleans was still in need of disaster relief.

“That’s something you don’t really think about because mass media and everything [have] this huge coverage and huge push for it, but then, after a year or two, it dies down, and you kind of just assume the problem is fixed,” McKinney said.

The group that is going on the trip will be staying with a camp called Camp Restore, a nonprofit organization that focuses on service and the community, and they will be doing any service that is needed in the area like construction work, painting schools and planting, Holbrook said.

The main goals of the trip are to expand the alternative breaks program, which has only been around for a year, create a service and cultural experience for students, and alleviate some of the stress from the work that still needs to be done in New Orleans, McKinney said. The main theme of the trip is disaster relief.

The trip will take place March 5-12. There are 12 people going on the trip and only one spot left. The deposit of $200 to go on the trip is due Thursday.

Shelby Thomas, a sophomore nursing major from Payson, said she chose to go on the trip because of the opportunity to do service work and to experience the culture and atmosphere of New Orleans.

“I feel like it’s a thing that’s overlooked just because it’s something that happened so long ago, and it’s just crazy that they’re still living in poverty, and they’re still living in homes that aren’t really homes,” Thomas said.

McKinney said St. George is not the only place that needs service. 

“It’s a constant process that needs devoted and really dedicated individuals to help out with the process to strengthen communities,” McKinney said.