UNO Service Coalition Gives Back
Students at the University of New Orleans are encouraged to give back to their community and this fall a committed group of students are doing just that, helping to build houses for New Orleans' lower-income residents and improving gardens at a beloved city museum.
The UNO Service Coalition is a network of volunteers and student groups collaborating with area nonprofits and community service providers to fix long-term environmental and social problems in the greater New Orleans area, said Dale O'Neill, director of student involvement and leadership at UNO. The Service Coalition contributed 160 hours of community service this fall.
Every semester, a group of dedicated students forego vacations and sleeping in to participate in alternative fall break, a key component of the service tradition at UNO, wherein students spend their mid-semester break working in the community.
This year, the UNO Service Coalition completed more than 100 hours of community service for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity over fall break, said Christina Lott, a graduate assistant dedicated to UNO student organizations and service initiatives. Over the past eight years, NOAHH has hosted over 15,000 student volunteers during alternative spring break trips for more than 600,000 volunteer hours from college and high school students, making it one of the top five alternative spring break destinations, according to the organization's website.
"While there we helped to build a house by constructing the framing and then installing the framed walls into place," said Lott. UNO also students completed 25 hours of service to New Orleans City Park, contributing an entire morning to working in the New Orleans Museum of Art Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, where more than 60 works of art by artists from Pierre August Renoir and Rene Magritte to Louise Bourgeois and Isamu Noguchi stand among the park's world-renowned oaks.
"We weeded and laid down pine needles to protect plants," Lott said. "Afterwards the volunteers were treated to a visit to NOMA and beignets at Morning Call!"