Published February 2, 2012
Back from a weeklong service learning trip to Louisiana, three UB undergraduates took time to reflect on their experiences on the Gulf Coast.
David Dodge, Gabrielle Kawalick and Ian Bick were among 17 students who took part in an “alternative winter break” this January, volunteering on wetland restoration projects. The group worked with indigenous plants at a local farm and hauled hundreds of recycled Christmas trees out to waterways around Houma, La., to capture sediments and help reinforce wetlands.
For the students, the expedition “was all about making connections” between the bayou and Buffalo, says Jim Simon, associate environmental educator with UB’s Office of Sustainability. As Simon points out, much of the seafood we eat comes from Gulf waters and many New York birds visit southern wetlands during yearly migrations.
“Knowing that impact, I think the students are going to be thinking more about how they can apply these lessons on sustainability, leadership and diversity to UB,” Simon says.
He and Jodi Stelley-Ceroky, an educational programming coordinator with UB's Intercultural and Diversity Center, accompanied the students on the trip that ran from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14. Terri Budek, community engagement coordinator for the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement, organized the experience.