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Purchase Alternative Service Trip 2019

Purchase students spend their spring break contributing to Hurricane Maria recovery almost two years after the natural disaster struck Puerto Rico.

On March 31st, thirteen students from Purchase College embarked on an alternative service trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico with two staff and one faculty member from the college. 

While in Puerto Rico, the students were able to split into groups and take part in two different service opportunities throughout the week. Half of the group worked with SBP—an organization whose mission is to shrink the time between disaster and recovery—for the first portion of the week.

The group helped to rebuild a house that was devastated by Hurricane Maria through tasks such as painting, tile and concrete removal and roof cleaning. The other half of the group started their week off at the Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico—the only food bank in Puerto Rico—where they helped with sorting food, stocking shelves, and making care packages for residents of the municipals across Puerto Rico. 

Kamali Williamson ’19 says, “Serving in Puerto Rico made me realize that you don’t necessarily have to know someone to give back or help out. Helping others for a better change in their life is a rewarding feeling that you can’t find anywhere else.” 

The students will be participating in a community showcase on Wednesday, April 25 at 4:00pm in the Red Room, Student Services Building to showcase the work they did on the trip, as well as some of the rich culture that Puerto Rico has to offer.

This trip was organized by a working group of professional staff members in the Office of Community Engagement and made possible by a grant from the Purchase Student Government Association. 

The Office of Community Engagement wants to thank all of the Purchase College faculty and staff who helped the application process and logistics of this trip.

Participating Purchase Students:

  • Kari Luna ’20 
  • Destiny Tompkins ’20
  • Maya Robinson ’19 
  • Cameron Verge ’20 
  • Alexandra Valerio ’19 
  • Eric Rios ’20 
  • Samuel Bell ’21 
  • Rachel Bevacqua ’21
  • Cassandra Honey ’19
  • Sally Camara ’21
  • Leslie Merced ’20
  • Alena Brocker ’20
  • Kamali Williamson ’19

Participating Advisors:

  • Akeera Peterkin, Counseling Center—Staff Clinical Social Worker
  • Janis Astor del Valle, Assistant Professor of Practice in Arts Management
  • Anastasia Knapp, Office of Community Engagement—Coordinator for Student Involvement