By Rosemary Leger – Copy Editor
Ten students representing Lasell Says Thank You (LSTY ), an on-campus volunteer or- ganization, served the residents of Union Beach and Seaside Heights, NJ in restoring homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy over the Colum- bus Day weekend. This is one of many trips the club has taken in four years to aid in Hurricane Sandy relief.
On Saturday, October 10, students began their service by working with Rebuild New Jer- sey, an organization that connects residents af- fected by the storm with reliable local contrac- tors. The students assisted in the demolition of a home in Union Beach. This house was so badly damaged the only option was to knock it down and completely start over.
Sunday was spent with the St. Bernard Project, an organization inspired by Hurricane Katrina relief and has grown into “a nationally recognized leader in disaster resilience and recovery,” according to their website.
Students laid flooring and prepared the interior for paint. The home, in Seaside Heights, NJ, proved to be one of greater meaning to the students, because the family who would soon be moving in came to visit.
Senior Samantha Buote found this visit to be the most rewarding part of the trip. “The fa- ther told us all about what it was like during the storm, watching the homes all around them be swept away,” she said. His four children came along to see the progress that was being made on their future home.
“They were extremely grateful for what we were there doing and that made it all worth it,” said Buote.
When a natural disaster occurs, the na- tion is quick to forget those who will forever be changed by it. Many homes in New Jersey still remain abandoned and in ruins. “It’s awful that three years later people are still displaced from their homes,” said Buote.
Senior Katie Rathbun led the trip alongside junior Briana Wrubleski. “The most rewarding part of the weekend was meeting [a] family from Seaside Heights,” said Rathbun. “Seeing how ap- preciative they were of the work we were doing made us all realize why we do these service trips.”
Wrubleski expressed the challenges in lead- ing this trip fell in the unfamiliarity within the group of students. After days of teamwork and nights of reflections (and frozen yogurt) she said, “[they] became a small family by the end of the four days.”
The students involved in this trip to New Jersey were club President Katie Rathbun, Bri- ana Wrubleski, Samantha Buote, Dustin da Ponte, J.R. Costello, Ben Lane, Morgan Nash, Kelli Smith, Jenna Bencivenga, and Emily Noll.