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Social Work Students Volunteer to Help New Orleans Rebuild

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 2, 2007) -- Nine University at Albany students are spending part of their winter break in New Orleans, volunteering to help repair hurricane-damaged houses, one of the largest problems facing the city in the wake of 2005's devastation by Hurricane Katrina.

The graduate students at the University's School of Social Welfare will work on gutting homes in the severely affected lower 9th Ward, paving the way for other teams to start the rebuilding process.

"Many of us entered the social work field with a desire to 'do good' and make a difference," said Jennifer Lathrop of Clifton Park, 23, who is heading the UAlbany team. "For the second year students the hurricane hit just as we were starting our education. This trip provides the opportunity to move our education from the classroom to the real world."

The team, which will work with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), will be in the city January 4 though January 11.

"Our School applauds the dedication of our students in addressing some of the dire needs of residents in New Orleans," said School of Social Welfare Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson. "Their work is a reminder of all that still remains to be done in many of these areas devastated over a year ago by Katrina. Flooding is a major concern in our region and state and many of their newly acquired skills will be transferable and applicable here as well."

Rounding out the volunteer team are social welfare grad students Jwakyum Kim, Rosalyn Galvan, Debra Miesing, Lauren Jacobs, Miriam Nalweyiso, Aline Miraglia, Lindsay Homenick, and Elizabeth Howard.

The mission of the School of Social Welfare is to further social and economic justice and to serve people who are vulnerable, marginalized or oppressed, a mission implemented through education, knowledge development, and service that promotes leadership for evidence-based social work with a global perspective. School of Social Welfare faculty consistently rank in the top five of all schools of social work nationally for their research and scholarship, and are ranked second in per capita productivity.

The University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in nine schools and colleges, and an honors college. For more information about this internationally ranked institution, visit theUniversity at Albany. Visit UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts.

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