SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University students were not the only ones who took “alternative” spring break trips this year. Two SU staff members also spent time pitching in to help others.
Lawanda Dockins-Gordy, director of the Guerrieri University Center, and Brian Lind, the center’s day manager, traveled to New Orleans and assisted with on-going clean up efforts from Hurricane Katrina. As part of a four-day conference sponsored by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), the two SU staff members and other attendees participated in one of seven community service projects.
The day-long projects included building homes for Habitat for Humanity, tutoring eighth graders through Dillard University and sorting donations to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana. Others helped Catholic Charities, Common Ground Collective, Trinity Christian Community and AmeriCorps with rebuilding and beautification projects. Altogether, ACUI volunteers donated an estimated 4,500 hours, Dockins-Gordy said.
She and Lind opted to help clean up City Park, a 1,300-acre park located in the heart of the city with gardens, playgrounds, trails and event facilities. During Hurricane Katrina, City Park lost 2,500 trees and suffered damages to 122 buildings, resulting in $43 million in damages. The park also lost more than 200 employees.
“It was moving,” Dockins-Gordy said. “A huge number of conference attendees participated and it was a wonderful, wonderful experience. We planted trees, cut weeds and mulched. It was personally gratifying for me to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of one of New Orleans' oldest and largest parks.”
“The most meaningful part of our New Orleans trip was being able to see not only the remnants of devastation but also the efforts to rebuild and renew a city with such history and warmth,” Lind said. “Because I have a background in recreation, I realize the importance that a place like City Park can have on a community. It was great to see so many people from ACUI working with smiling faces and willing attitudes in an effort to give back to a city that still needs a lot of help.”
Dockins-Gordy earned her bachelor’s degree from SU in 1982 and her master’s degree in 1996. Lind is a part-time undergraduate English student who plans to finish in December.
For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisabury.edu.