By Leanne Signoriello – Opinion Editor
President’s Day weekend is an excuse for some students to go home, catch up on homework, or relax. This was not the case for 10 Lasell students and one alumni who decided to pay it forward by spending the weekend in Long Branch, N.J. for Lasell’s semi-annual Lasell Says Thank You trip.
For the past several years, Lasell has worked alongside the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that rebuilds homes that were destroyed as a result of hurricanes and other natural disasters.
In addition to the two student co-leaders, eight students were selected at random after an application process, along with alumna Katie Rathbun (’16), to rebuild a house along the Jersey Shore that was impacted by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The most recent trip was led by junior Mallorie Smith and sophomore Ben Lane, who have both been part of Lasell service trips in the past.
“I traveled with Lasell Says Thank You this past fall and I just wanted to add more to it and go again for another experience with a different group. I wanted to see how different it would be two different times because every trip is very different,” Smith said.
The group spent four days working together doing tasks such as spackling, flooring, and dry wall. The long work days allowed the group to come together and form a tight-knit community.
“One of the highlights of the trip was seeing our group of ten individuals come together and see how much closer they were at the end compared to the beginning, which was one of our goals as leaders,” said Lane.
“It was a great experience for us meeting the homeowner because we got to meet the person we were doing all this work for and it puts a face to what we are doing which adds more meaning to it all,” said Lane.
The most impactful moment of the weekend though, according to the co-leaders, was meeting the homeowner himself.