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   from the issue of January 12, 2006

Return Trip: Enthusiasm, extra requests fuel push for additional cleanup trips by UNL volunteers


Preliminary plans call for UNL volunteers to make two more service trips to the Gulf Coast this spring: during Spring Break and after graduation, planners said.

Due to enthusiasm from the first group and requests from others, plans for subsequent service-learning trips to Waveland, Miss. are already in the making, said Linda Major, director of Student Involvement.

"Plans are under way for March and May trips and we will go back to iCare Village," Major said during the bus ride home from Mississippi Jan. 6. "We had hoped to find a place during this first trip to build a relationship with so if it worked out we could plan future trips. We have that at iCare Village."

ICare Village hosted UNL as its first large, university-affiliated service group and was pleased to have UNL set a standard for university groups and to have UNL work on a growing tent city adjacent to the village structure that will grow to accommodate hundreds more volunteers, village workers said.

"You had a great group down here," said Angelica Schultz, operations manager for iCare Village. "They've made such a tremendous impact, you kicked off 2006 with a bang and it's going to be really hard for other groups to meet the bar that you've set. You've had a tremendous effect here already at Waveland. Residents here have noticed those red shirts and they've noticed Nebraska," she said. "You've definitely filled a void that was needed."

The UNL group used the iCare facilities to eat, shower and hold meetings, and slept in tents at the village. ICare coordinated plans and transportation to service sites during the day, provided tools, and support for as many as a dozen separate UNL teams that divided up each day to work in the vicinity.

Major said the students, staff and faculty have expressed interest in return trips and have had many ideas for increasing awareness about hurricane relief. A final meeting of the first participants Jan. 20 will set an agenda for future Katrina-related activities on campus; and Major said students, staff and faculty should be on the look-out for upcoming information about future trips and consider working a trip into their spring plans.

"We especially want to thank the university for its support on this trip: to thank the supervisors and administrators that granted leave for faculty and staff, and for everyone who helped pull this together," she said.

"The trip certainly met or exceeded our expectations because students have changed," she said. "It has changed their perspective and caused them to move from caring to action, and that's the definition of service-learning. We really want to especially thank these students. Somebody called them the 'super students' because they exceeded all our expectations and had an amazing 'get-it-done' attitude. They had the commitment and they went above and beyond."

Information about this and subsequent relief trips will be at



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