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News Release

For immediate use 

March 8, 2006 -- No. 131

UNC students, faculty head to Gulf Coast
over spring break to assist in relief efforts

CHAPEL HILL Ė Spring break starts on Friday (March 10), and, like many other students, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill senior Garrett Hall has big plans: He will be traveling with other UNC students to New Orleans to help in Gulf Coast relief work.

Hallís group will be working with the Common Ground Collective, a community-initiated volunteer organization that offers assistance, mutual aid and support to victims of hurricane disasters.

Hall is one of the 11 students and faculty members who received grants supporting Gulf Coast relief efforts from UNCís Carolina Center for Public Service and the Division of Student Affairs. Grants of up to $1,000 were awarded from a pool of $10,000.

"We decided to go to New Orleans because while we know that it is the governmentís responsibility to take the lead in the recovery, it is also each and every Americanís responsibility to help out their fellow citizen in their deepest time of need," said Hall.

The Carolina Center for Public Service encouraged the university community to think creatively about how it could contribute its resources and expertise to assist in the long-term recovery. In addition, each applicant was required to have a community partner on the Gulf Coast.

"It is important that the grant recipients have contact with an organization already established in the area. Through this partnership, grant recipients can better serve the local communityís needs," said Amy Gorely, associate director of the center.

Andrew Hulbert, a sophomore, will use the grant to travel to the Gulf Coast for the second time this school year.

"There was never really any question after our winter break trip that we had to return at the next possible moment to help the people on the Gulf Coast. We are quite proud and excited to see that there are so many other UNC students that feel the same as us," said Hulbert.

Students are not the only ones traveling to the Gulf Coast over Spring Break. Beth Lamanna, clinical instructor in the School of Nursing, will travel to the Mississippi Gulf Coast with nursing students and community nurses to help staff three free medical clinics.

In addition, Dr. Cheryll Lesneski and students from the Public Health Leadership Program will work with Team Epi-Aid students and the N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness, based in UNCís School of Public Health, on an assessment of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the vulnerable populations of older persons and the disabled.

A full list of the 11 grantees and brief descriptions follows:

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Note: About 40 people from UNCís schools of nursing and public health and N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness will leave for the Mississippi Gulf Coast at 6 a.m. Sunday (March 12) from the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education and will be available for comment before boarding their bus.

Carolina Center for Public Service contact: Amy Gorely, (919) 843-7568 or agorely@email.unc.edu 

News Services contact: Deb Saine, (919) 962-8415 or deborah_saine@unc.edu