By Carol Olechowski
hen the waters receded after hurricanes Irene and Lee inundated upstate New York late last summer, UAlbany students mobilized to help their neighbors. Chapel House Interfaith Center organized five bus trips to rural Schoharie between Sept. 17 and Nov. 13, said Rev. Sandra Damhof, Protestant campus minister.
About 200 students, individually and in conjunction with such campus groups as Service Is Key, Fuerza Latina, Sankofa Africa, Cornerstone Protestant Campus Ministry, Newman Catholic Campus Ministry, Circle K and Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), rolled up their sleeves to assist with the massive cleanup of homes,
businesses and fields.
Damhof noted that the effort brought together supporters both on and off campus. Leah Rotella and Jay Oddi, members of Cornerstone Protestant Campus Ministry and Residential Life staff, helped recruit student volunteers, as did Beth Conrad of ODK. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America awarded a grant to provide money for tools, while another from UAlbany’s Office of Student Success helped cover transportation costs. And Parking and Mass Transit Services “gave us a great deal on the buses,” Damhof added.
More visits to Schoharie are planned this spring.