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Members of the Alternative School Break Club (ASB) recently returned from two separate trips over the January interim session. They will share their experiences through slideshow presentations 12:15 p.m. Friday in Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall.

One group of students went to Danville, Va., from Jan. 15-22 to restore houses with Telamon Corporation, which constructs and renovates houses that are then sold to low- and middle-income families.

Each day, the students split into two groups and worked on restoring two homes. One group worked on a house that required cosmetic work, including painting and staining woodwork, while students working on the other house focused on construction.

“The most rewarding part was to look at the progress we had made by the last day,” says Natalie Kamphaus ’05 (Athens, Ga.), a history and religious studies major. “We started with the basic frame of a home and we left with the home having installation, door frames, and drywall.”

Other team members included Sandra Goldman ’05 (Needham, Mass.), an economics and business major; Emily Allen ’06 (Califon, N.J.), a government and law major; Elizabeth Litchfield ’05 (North Easton, Mass.), an English major; Ingrid DeVries ’05 (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.), a biochemistry major; Emily White ’05 (Shutesbury, Mass.), a double major in English and Spanish; Joanna Vetreno ’06 (Oakland, N.J.), an electrical and computer engineering major; Jillian Carinci ’08 (Wilmington, Del.), a biology major; Kathleen Reddington ’08 (Jersey City, N.J.), a French major; and Christina Morley ’06 (Westwood, N.J.), a psychology major.

Amy Ahart, assistant director of Student Life Programs and special assistant to the dean of students, also took part.

“I am lucky to be able to participate in a great program and to have worked with a team of 10 Lafayette students that did an outstanding job,” she says.

The second interim group complemented the Engineers Without Borders’ ongoing project to provide a local water supply to villages in Honduras.

Engineers Without Borders members Fidel Maltez ’05 (Miami, Fla.) and Matt Verbyla ’06 (Unionville, Conn.), both civil engineering majors, and Taha Jiwaji ’08 (Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania) arrived in Yoro, Honduras, shortly after the New Year, where they collected the necessary data to finish the project designs.

ASB students arrived Jan. 8 and worked with Hondurans on the grain house. Both groups returned Jan. 16.

For the EWB team, a highlight of the trip was the assistance of two students and one faculty member from the civil and agricultural engineering division of the Nicaragua National University of Engineering

“The attendance of these students is a component EWB-Lafayette has been working on for some time,” says Maltez. “The goal of our chapter is to work with local engineering students to cooperate in all projects. We think that these students not only can provide us with cultural help, but are also more experienced in technical issues not common in the United States.”

”It was a great experience to see Lafayette College students from various disciplines working towards the development of a rural community,” he adds. “With every trip we increase the trust and friendship between our group and the community, and now have incorporated new organizations that will help us build a sustainable system.”

Students on the ASB team were Emily Groves ’05 (Madison, N.J.), an English major; Odakwei Mills ’06 (Baltimore, Md.), an international affairs major; Jackie Golden ’07 (Latham, N.Y.), a biology major, and Christa Kelleher ’08 (Tigard, Ohio), who plans to major in chemical engineering. Stephanie Cote, Landis Community Outreach Center coordinator and ASB adviser, also was part of the team.

Over spring break, an ASB group will return to Sea Island, S.C., for the fifth time to partner with Habitat for Humanity, where students will work on various stages of house construction.

“I joined ASB because I wanted to give back to the community at large,” says Veronica Hart ’05 (Sewanee, Tenn.), a double major in economics & business and Spanish. “It seemed fitting to make my last spring break at Lafayette meaningful by doing a service project.”

Other students scheduled to make the trip to Sea Island include Lauren Cash ’07 (Blue Bell, Pa.), a psychology major; Jillian Gaeta ’07 (Middletown, N.J.), an international affairs major; Frank Giannelli ’07 (Berkeley Heights, N.J.), an A.B. engineering major; Huong Nguyen ’08 (Hanoi, Vietnam); Sara Windish ’08 (Wayne, N.J.); Meredith Jeffers ’05 (Letham, N.Y.), an English major; Kristin Radziwanowski ’07 (East Windsor, N.J.), a biology major; and Steve Caruso ’06 (Middletown, N.J.), a double major in biology and economics & business. Kevin Worthen, associate dean of students and director of student life administration, will accompany the students.

Other students will travel to Homestead, Fla., during spring break to volunteer with the Outpost and Wildlife Refuge in the Everglades, working on environmental and animal protection projects.

“We will be working with animals and birds at the outpost,” says Emily Fogelberg ’05 (Plymouth, Minn.), a double major in economics & business and history. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to visit a new place, meet new people, learn about the issues confronting the wildlife in the Everglades, and contribute to environmental preservation and education.”

This will be the second ASB trip for geology major Daina White ’07 (Montvale, N.J.), who volunteered at the Gesundheit! Institute in West Virginia last May.

“I have always loved the environment and wish to preserve the quality of outdoor life,” she says. “I also love animals and have wanted to work with them, so this trip is a dream for me.”

Joining her will be Long Tran ’08 (Allentown, Pa.); Allison Kramer ’08 (Cherry Hill, N.J.); Rasheim Donaldson ’06 (New York, N.Y.), an anthropology and sociology major; Martha Petre ’08 (Fredonia, N.Y.); Amy Goldstein ’05 (Latham, N.Y.), a neuroscience major; and Rasheim Donaldson ’06 (New York, N.Y.), an anthropology and sociology major. Dan Ruch, AmeriCorps*VISTA staff member in the Landis Center and team adviser for Kids in the Community, a Lafayette after-school program for children, will accompany the students on this trip.

KIC and ASB are among the 35 ongoing programs coordinated by Lafayette’s Landis Community Outreach center.

ASB has been a staple at Lafayette since students decided in spring 1993 to do something about the devastation left by Hurricane Hugo. Although a blizzard kept the students from traveling to Florida, the idea survived and flourished in 1994 with the first ASB trip to Honduras, where a group worked with the family of an international student.

Trips vary by year, but one element remains the same: Students take significant leadership roles.

Last year’s projects included working on housing construction, which involved roofing and framing windows and doorways, with Sea Island Habitat for Humanity in Sea Island, S.C., during January interim; laying the house foundation for a single mother and her children in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, which included raising $4,500 (in addition to travel costs) to provide the building supplies, over spring break; assisting the only YMCA on a Native American reservation (Sioux YMCA in Dupree, S.D.) in landscaping projects and the coordination of activities for the after-school program, over spring break; and working at the site of the Gesundheit! Institute (Hillsboro, W.V.), doing various projects, which included planting crops and constructing yurts (circus-like tent structures) to house a summer program, in May.

Categorized in: Students