Stevenson makes a difference in NOLA

In 2005, the United States was struck with tragedy when Hurricane Katrina’s force affected over 15 million people. According to, an estimated 80 percent of New Orleans was under water with $81 billion in property damages. These facts are only a snapshot of the destruction caused in Louisiana, making Hurricane Katrina the most damaging hurricane in U.S. history.

New Orleans 2016

Students and staff work together to repair the damages from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. (Photo courtesy of Sara Cullison)

More than 10 years later, rebuilding Louisiana is still a major project and Stevenson students are committed to helping those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Through the on-campus club, Mission: I’m Home, students get the opportunity to spend spring break in New Orleans to assist in the reconstruction process. Over 300 homes, two community centers, and one school have been remodeled so far by their efforts.

Morgan Somerville, Stevenson’s director of student engagement, has been a co-coordinator of the alternative spring break trips since they started and believes the experiences are “an excellent example of students, staff and faculty working together.”

These trips are also hosted in January and May for students who cannot go during spring break. Somerville loves the opportunity to serve the New Orleans community, and welcomes students who are interested in a unique trip.

Amanda Oppenheim, president of Mission: I’m Home, has taken three trips to New Orleans and said, “We [Stevenson students] are just a family helping families go home.”

Students who have participated in these disaster-rebuilding projects are able to experience New Orleans culture and museum visits to learn more about the history of the city and Hurricane Katrina. All Stevenson students, regardless of their major, are allowed to participate in these trips with the only requirement being that they must pay for the trip as well as their flight to New Orleans. For more information about costs for any of the January, March or May trips, feel free to email Somerville through campus email and visit the club’s website.

Mission: I’m Home’s fundraising bingo on will be held on April 3 at 1 p.m. in the Rockland Banquet room, featuring products by Vera Bradley, Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Alex & Ani. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds go towards funding alternative break trips.


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