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Leadership students find work, inspiration on New Orleans trip

January 25, 2011

Students and faculty who hit the road with some of the travel courses offered during Chapman University’s winter interterm are winging their way home and starting to send in photos and updates.

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First to check in is a group that traveled to New Orleans to work with Rebuilding Together as part of Leadership 325, which requires on-site civic engagement and community service. This is the program’s third New Orleans work trip and was taught by Chris Hutchison, director of Student Civic Engagement, in partnership with the College of Educational Studies.

For psychology major Jimbo Lozano ’11, one of the highlights of the work trip was literally breathtaking. Although he admits to a fear of heights, he somehow was the only student willing to climb a 30-foot scaffolding to set up a safety gate so that work could proceed on the awnings of the house where they were working.

“I pretty much just thought to myself ‘I need to help someone come home.’ So I got up there and did what I needed to do and whether or not my legs were shaking wasn’t really the point,” Lozano says.

While in New Orleans the students also attended special presentations at Tulane University and the Louisiana State Museum and met with alumni Jonathan Johnson ’10, who is working for Teach for America New Orleans, and Je T’aime Swindell ’10, now attending law school in New Orleans. But for junior communications studies major Maria Streegan Cruz ’12, daily encounters with neighbors around the house they were rebuilding were particularly memorable.

“The highlight of my trip really was having a conversation with a neighbor who lived down the street from Ruthie Lee, the woman whose house we were working on. She came down and brought over a space heater. That just kind of showed me that there’s a sense of community, there’s a sense of care,” Streegan Cruz said.

Read more about Chapman University’s interterm program in another Happenings post published here.

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