Back from a weeklong service learning trip to Louisiana, three
UB undergraduates took time to reflect on their experiences on the
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
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