Instead of partying and plenty of fun, 16 Pace University students spent their Spring Break helping residents still struggling to rebuild following the devastation of Superstorm Sandy more than five years ago.
Pace University’s Center for Community Action and Research (CCAR) organized the students who spent hours installing insulation, hanging drywall, sanding, sealing and painting rooms in homes in Marine Park, Brooklyn and Rockaway Beach, Queens.
The immersive learning experience included guest lectures about how race, class, disaster relief policy, cultural attitudes, and political attitudes shaped the ways communities have recovered from natural disasters from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to Hurricanes Harvey and Maria in 2017.
“Pace students are doers and strivers,” said Marvin Krislov, president of Pace University. “We believe in learning by doing, and there’s no better way to do that than by giving back to our community. I’m pleased that these students will have this experiential education, and I’m even more pleased that they’re doing good for their fellow New Yorkers.”
During the trip, the students spent four days and three nights, living in the communities that are still feeling the impact of this disaster. They also met with local organizations and community members and learned what the future holds for these areas and what needs to be done moving forward.
Students who participated in the trip brought back their experience through blog posts, articles for the student newspapers on both Pace’s New York City and Westchester County campuses, a petition signing, and more.
"When you're, you know, our age and in college, you have a lot of free time on your hands — more than you probably realize — so it's a good time to make a difference," said volunteer Joseph Kelly, Pace University junior.
Pace students have also traveled to New Orleans where they helped people rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In New York City, they have served the homeless and hungry as well as those recovering from Superstorm Sandy. Community organizations Pace has worked with include Friends of Rockaway, Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, All Hands Volunteers, Housing Works, Ready, Willing, and Able, Metropolitan Council, Coalition for the Homeless, Homes for the Homeless, Greyston Bakery, Volunteer! New York, JCCA, and Westchester Land Trust.
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