Athens, Ga. — A group of 27 students from the Leonard Leadership Scholars Program in the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business leave today for New Orleans to assist in the city’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina as a service project to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which will be observed Monday, Jan. 15.
The participating students are partnering with Hands on New Orleans, a well-established nonprofit organization that provides service opportunities, housing and food to volunteers, according to scholars program coordinator Tracie Sanchez. Sanchez is joining the trip, along with economics professor and scholars program director Chris Cornwell, Institute for Leadership Advancement director Dale Gauthreaux and ILA assistant director Jennifer Nash.
“(Class of 2007 Leadership Scholars) Kelly Sandefer and Lauren Gottung both have family members in the region who were severely affected by Katrina,” said Courtney Doran, a senior marketing and public relations major and Leadership Scholar who helped organize the New Orleans trip. “In response, nine of us joined together to form a planning committee. We conceived the trip as a service retreat, viewing it as an opportunity to both serve and reinforce our experiences in the Leadership Scholars Program.”
The service projects will vary throughout the three-day weekend, from gutting condemned houses to painting schools, Doran said. After the work day is over, the group will reconvene in the evenings for student-led discussions on themes they have chosen to emphasize.
“We have spent a great deal of time talking about ways post-Katrina New Orleans can spark meaningful discussions and reflection,” she said. “Our committee has decided to promote themes of civic and personal responsibility, fear and vulnerability, and action and illumination.”
“We are truly excited about the service retreat,” Doran added. “After almost two years of studying leadership, developing our skills, and defining our personal goals, we are looking forward to ‘walking the talk.’ We hope the trip will communicate who we are as individuals and as a class and what the Leadership Scholars Program is about.”