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By MANDY THOMAS ajt008@latech



McNeese State University–Lake Charles and Southeastern Louisiana University–Hammond have teamed up with the University of Louisiana System to plan and provide an alternative spring break called “Extreme Spring Break 2006: Students Rebuilding Louisiana.”

The alternative spring break will be a five-day intensive service project to benefit the families and homes of the Gulf Coast areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Lindsay Mencacci, Student Government Association president and a senior biology major, said because Tech is on the quarter system and has already had spring break, an alternative schedule is being planned for Tech students.

“Tech SGA is planning to leave on Thursday to allow Tech students to participate and only miss one full day of class,” Mencacci said.

Mencacci said SGA is providing transportation to both locations and will also write a letter for students participating to give to professors of any classes missed during the trip.

C.J. Johnson, SGA vice president and a junior political science major, said the program is a collaboration between all of the ULS schools for students to take initiative to rebuild Louisiana.

“Students will spend five days building homes and cleaning the community,” Johnson said.

The program will be April 19–23 and will have 250 spots available, 125 at both McNeese State University and Southeastern Louisiana University.

Johnson said the sponsors for the event are Habitat for Humanity, the New York Times and the American Red Cross.

Jackie Tisdell, director of Student Initiatives and Outreach of ULS, said the program will consist of three full days of work with Habitat for Humanity. Tisdell said there will be hurricane and service orientation programs and intensive professional development programs. There will also be a special development disaster training course on Sunday morning, which is actually the first of two steps with Red Cross to become disaster certified.

“This way, students can return home and complete the second step of disaster certification,” Tisdell said. “So if there is another disaster, students can immediately get the ball rolling with volunteering and disaster relief in their area.”

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