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STATE FARM GRANT FUNDS AQ SERVICE TRIP TO LOUISIANA

March 20, 2008 - Nineteen Aquinas College students
spent their spring break (March 3-7) in southern Louisiana, providing assistance to those still affected by the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. The Service-Learning trip to Hammond, Louisiana was made possible with a $5,000 grant from State Farm Insurance.

Each year since the hurricane struck the U.S. Gulf Coast region in August 2005, Aquinas has sent a group to either Louisiana or Mississippi to help in the rebuilding effort. According to Service-Learning Coordinator Eric Bridge, this most recent trip serves "to draw awareness to the fact that so much needs to be done. So much needs to be rebuilt."

Working with the Ginger Ford Habitat for Humanity organization, the Aquinas group performed many tasks such as painting, cleaning, landscaping, laying floors, rebuilding a porch and completing trim work. They also visited New Orleans where they toured the city’s Ninth Ward to see the effects of the devastation for themselves. While southern Louisiana has experienced a 30 percent decline in population since Hurricane Katrina, the need for assistance continues to remain great as many people have yet to return to their homes.

Students who participated in the trip include: Brianna Boedeker, sophomore, Harrison Township; Carolyn Borowiak, senior, Eastpointe; Brandon Byker, sophomore, Wyoming; Oriana Ferrara, sophomore, Portland; John Guyesky, sophomore, Lansing; Barb Holland, freshman, Allegan; Amy Hyde, senior, Cedar; Brad May, senior, Stevensville; Heather Miller, sophomore, Bridgman; Sarah Mitchell, senior, Grand Rapids; Zarah Moeggenburg, sophomore, Bay City; Bethany Morris, sophomore, Davison; Kathleen Polluck, junior, Midland; Bethany Purpura, freshman, Lombard, IL; Kristyn Russel, sophomore, Midland; Alene Seiler, senior, Conway Springs, KS; Kyle Teeples, junior, Jenison; Matthew Werksma, sophomore, Grand Haven; and Hanna Wolcott, sophomore, Lansing.

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