Purchase College students will be heading South during their January winter break, not to vacation but to participate in service projects that will have them doing hands-on disaster relief work on the Gulf Coast in Biloxi, Mississippi, and environmental preservation work in the Everglades with the National Park Service in Florida.
Nearly two dozen Purchase students will join these service trips from January 10-17.
In the Everglades they will learn how to help restore the diversity and health of the Everglades ecosystems. Working with the National Park Service in Florida City, they will help preserve the wildlife, participate in exotic plant removal, trail maintenance, and restoration and beautification of the park system.
In Biloxi they will gain a greater understanding of the problems faced by individuals displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The focus of this trip will be rebuilding communities that were destroyed by the hurricane and working with area service agencies to provide activities for children living in hurricane-affected areas.
The trips were organized to provide the students with a unique experience that allows for personal growth and the enrichment of personal character. Students will learn to interact with various individuals in the communities and the community groups where they work, and gain a greater understanding of the diversity of regions of the country and the problems that must be resolved in order to improve quality of life.
The program was organized by Keegan Mills, coordinator of Student Engagement at Purchase. Each group has 11 students, including two site leaders, plus one staff member. Students will fly to the locations and stay in local housing.