Twelve Duquesne students will spend their spring break, March 3-10, in New Orleans’ suburbs to aid rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Students will prepare houses for rebuilding by clearing debris and removing drywall and flooring. This will allow homes to be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the growth of dangerous mold so the rebuilding process can begin.
“This cross-cultural trip is another example of Duquesne’s young people reaching out to help others,” said the Rev. Ray French, C.S.Sp., University chaplain and director of Spiritan Campus Ministry. “The students on this trip help others while growing and maturing as an individual. They serve as a lived expression of our Spiritan mission and identity.”
Duquesne University Spiritan Campus Ministry, the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana are sponsoring the mission trip. The Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana is providing housing while students are in New Orleans, and the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans is organizing rebuilding efforts, as well as providing reflection and discussion before and after for the students.
Besides the New Orleans trip, two other cross-cultural trips will bring 10 Duquesne students to Immokalee, Fla., and six students to Camden, N.J., over the break.
The trip to Immokalee will allow students to experience the plight of migrant farm workers. Placed with host families, the students will engage the workers and observe the sharp contrast between the poverty of the Immokalee area and the vast wealth in nearby Naples.
Inner-city poverty is the theme for students spending the week in Camden, one of the country’s poorest cities. Students will be involved in a variety of projects including helping at clinics, homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Each evening they will gather for refection on the day’s activities and discuss social justice and poverty.
Duquesne, which is the world’s only Spiritan university, was born from the need to educate masses of immigrants and their children in the 1870s. The mission to serve God by serving students remains central to the University and extends service to the church, the community, the nation and the world.