For many undergraduates, a trip to Louisiana centers on New Orleans and its fabled nightlife. Not so for 16 UB students, who earlier this month spent a week volunteering in the wetlands of southern Louisiana.
Part of UB’s annual alternative winter break that emphasizes hands-on service work, the trip was facilitated by the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement.
It brought students to the bayou and into the heart of Cajun culture. In addition to learning how to pick apart crawfish and the finer points of zydeco music, the students were educated on the environmental, cultural and economic issues facing southern Louisiana.
The students flew on Jan. 5 from Buffalo to New Orleans, where the temperatures hovered in the mid-50s. Vans took them to Chauvin, a small fishing community about 50 miles southwest of New Orleans, where they stayed at Bayou Grace Community Services, a social services agency.
The following day, spent at the Louisiana State Museum’s Hurricane Katrina exhibit in New Orleans, served as a welcome and orientation for the work that lay ahead, said Jim Simon, UB sustainability engagement coordinator, who helped organize and co-lead the trip.