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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Rebuilding New Orleans, One UMB Student at a Time

This winter, a group of forty UMass Boston undergraduate students hoping to make a difference in New Orleans will fly to the Hurricane Katrina devastated city to help in reconstruction efforts.

Tara DeSisto, a UMB student senator, heads this year’s trip. DeSisto reminisced on past trips to the New Orleans coast.

“We spent a week [in New Orleans] and it was good, but it wasn’t enough; the Katrina-ravaged New Orleans felt like a third world country,” DeSisto said. “We are returning once again to finish what we had set out to do.”

When Katrina hit on August 29, 2005, more than a 1.2 million people were forced to evacuate their homes, if not the entire city. Those without cars crowded into the downtown Superdome and Convention Center, where conditions quickly turned squalid. Eighty percent of the city flooded waiting for delayed rescue teams. In the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters to hit North America, many people lost their homes, their belongings, and their communities.

In an effort to contribute to the ongoing rebuilding of the city, DeSisto said UMB students will spend the week in New Orleans cleaning homes, tearing down old walls, shredding overgrown plants, landscaping, assisting construction crews, working in community centers, and providing food to needy families.

DeSisto said these humanitarian efforts are aimed at raising awareness about the continued suffering of local residents in New Orleans and their dream of reviving the city to its former glory.

This winter’s relief effort to New Orleans-the fourth of its kind at UMB and heavily subsidized by the student senate-is schedule for the week of January 3-11, 2009, during which students will sleep in bunks at a local church.

Students interested in future trips to New Orleans should contact DeSisto at [email protected]. A similar trip to Galveston, TX is being offered to help rebuild areas damaged by Hurricane Ike. For more information, contact Erika Ryberg at 617-287-7949.