More than 500 Howard University students opted to
trade swim wear for construction hats and boots to
help rebuild the Gulf Coast through the University’s
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) program.

Alternative Spring Break 2007, entitled Journey Back to New Orleans –– Uplifting Our People Through Service continued the University’s legacy of leadership and service to our nation. Hundreds of students, double that of last year’s participants, picked up where they left off in the ASB 2006 recovery effort. Volunteers included undergraduate, graduate, and Howard University School of Law students as well as faculty and staff.

"Howard University has been a part of the recovery immediately following the hurricane by accepting students from Gulf Coast Universities,” said Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert. “Last spring break our students went down and did a tremendous job of showing the residents that our support was unwavering. This year, hundreds more are going and this demonstrates our continued profound support and commitment.”

Helping Hands Radiothon Nearly Triples Goal, 125K

The “Helping Hands” Radiothon hosted by WHUR 96.3 FM was an overwhelming success. After 12 hours of continuous on air outreach, thousands across the Washington Metropolitan region donated more than $125,000 to help send the army of student volunteers to rebuild the homes and lives of people in the “Big Easy” where life has become difficult for many in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

“I would like to sincerely thank all those who gave generously in our effort to raise the additional funding needed to offset the cost of traveling to New Orleans,” says Debbie Origho, ASB student co-coordinator. “We set a goal of $50,000, but our neighbors and friends dug deeper into their pockets to support us and we are grateful.”

The live broadcast featured Howard University officials including President Swygert who donated $1,000, student volunteers as well as interviews with New Orleans residents and political leaders. Area leaders including Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George’s County First Lady Leslie Johnson presented checks and challenged residents in their county to continue to give.

About the 2007 ASB Mission

During Phase 1, which began on March 11, 57 School of Law students provided legal and humanitarian services that included assisting in the New Orleans District Attorney's Office; working with criminal defendants in the Public Defender's Office; volunteering with the Loyola University of New Orleans legal clinic to assist property owners with litigation issues; helping homeowners clear their titles in order to receive much-needed government recovery aid; interviewing Katrina survivors displaced to a FEMA-run trailer park 100 miles from New Orleans in Baker, LA; investigating the cases of individuals who may have been wrongfully convicted with the Innocence Project and helping to rebuild homes and lives with Habitat for Humanity.

These students are a shining example of what it means to be a social engineer. They bring great credit to themselves, the School of Law and Howard University through their selfless service, dedication and passion.

During Phase 2, which began March 17 and ends on March 25, when the students return to Howard, more than 400 graduate and undergraduate students traveled 20 hours by bus to help build and restore hundreds of homes in the Ninth Ward, in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and local organizations. Participants also tutored local students.

Video: A Break in the Storm
Watch and experience the story of students in
last year's Alternative Spring Break.

WHUR personality Tony Richards interviews Howard
students about the Helping Hand Marathon