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Ron Harris


Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Communications Specialist

Nearly 600 Howard University Students Skip Sun and Sand to Serve in Rural
Panama and New Orleans during Spring Break

Washington, D.C., March 13, 2008 – Approximately 600 Howard University will spend the seven days on two continents making a world of difference.

For many college students, spring break means ditching the books and heading south for sun and sand. But the Howard University chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB-HU) will trade their swimsuits for work boots and hard hats to help others in rural Panama while their counterparts will return to New Orleans for the third consecutive year to rebuild the homes and lives of people in the "Big Easy," where many are still living in trailers more than two years after the hurricane destroyed their homes and forced thousands of residents to abandon the city.

Panama Mission
Nearly 20 Howard students and their advisors will travel 2,000 miles to Coclé, Panama, 71 miles west of Panama City, to restore and enhance Hogar de Niñas de Penonomè orphanage home. The shelter houses children ages seven to 18, many of whom have been removed from abusive and incestuous homes. The students will be traveling under the institutional umbrella of their partnering organization, Global Business Brigades.

After months of planning and assessment and international conference calls with local universities and business owners, the volunteers whose majors range from business to engineering, will tackle several projects: from building a rain cover to fixing washing machines and enhancing the girls’ esteem through a “Make me Beautiful” campaign.

New Orleans Mission
The University’s Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel has been taking students on public service missions since 1996. As part of the 2008 mission, 27 Howard University School of Law students will provide legal assistance while more than 500 undergraduates will construct and restore homes in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity and local churches. Howard University students from a variety of fields will also tutor local students.

At noon, Saturday, March 15, students, faculty and staff and will depart the University on a 20-hour bus trip to New Orleans and return on Saturday, March 22.

The students destined for Panama will depart Washington Reagan Airport at Sunday, March 16, 12noon, and return on Sunday, March 23.

Note to the Media:
On Saturday, March 15, 500-plus undergraduate and graduate students will convene at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium (Main Campus), 2455 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, D.C., beginning at 7 a.m. The buses are scheduled to depart for New Orleans at noon. Students will return to Washington, D.C. (same location as above) on Sunday, March 22.

For local or national news outlets or correspondents in the New Orleans area, work site locations are available for the week of service. Please coordinate visits and interviews with Ron Harris at 202.238.2331 or

To interview students in Panama, please contact Kerry-Ann Hamilton to coordinate coverage and interview opportunities.

Howard University is one of 48 U.S. private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive universities and comprises 12 schools and colleges. Founded in 1867, students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, a Truman Scholar, seven Fulbright Scholars and nine Pickering Fellows. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. For more information on Howard University, call 202-238-2330, or visit the University’s Web site at



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