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Winter Break is Not Just About Going Home for the Holidays

By Jaclyn Tully

Elizabeth Eubanks

Along with studying criminal law, legal writing and torts this semester at Pepperdine’s School of Law, add mold removal to Elizabeth Eubanks transcript, a Rochester Hills resident. From Dec. 17 to Dec. 22, Eubanks, a first year law school student will lead 16 Pepperdine University students from Malibu, California, to New Orleans to work, clean, and bring hope to people who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina in September.

Eubanks and her Pepperdine team are not alone in their holiday efforts. Several universities across the nation are planning trips to New Orleans as winter break alternatives including New York University; Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky; Brown University; Kansas University; and Michigan State University. Many schools are also organizing trips for spring and summer breaks. Everyone is hoping that in some small way, they will make a difference.

“I think it’s really wonderful that people are willing to drop whatever they have planned for the holidays and commit,” says Eubanks. “People have been really open minded about going there and doing their part.”

Organized by Eubanks and the Pepperdine Volunteer Center and in conjunction with Harding, the students will fly to New Orleans and assist in the rebuilding process. They will begin with tearing down homes and then bleaching the foundation of the structures to remove the threat of mold. While students are responsible for their airfare, Tammany Oaks Church of Christ in Louisiana will provide housing and Pepperdine will cover all of the ground costs.

“We will have to live in some uncomfortable conditions and I am missing some time at home with my family,” shared senior Rebecca Patton.  “But in all honesty, neither of these matter compared to the opportunity I am given to help in New Orleans.”

Pepperdine has provided several ways for its community to get involved in relief efforts. Its year-long Wave Relief campaign has included accepting nearly 20 displaced college students from Louisiana, hosting fundraisers, clothing and goods drives, and providing gift cards to local evacuees.

“The complete relief effort is estimated to take the next eight years and billions of dollars,” says senior Deborah Kim. “Although I am only serving for five days, I hope that it will make a difference to those families whose houses we rebuild.” 

“While it’s easy for us in California to forget what is going on in New Orleans, people there are still dealing with it everyday,” Eubanks explains. 

The Pepperdine Volunteer Center was founded in 1988 and has expanded the number of programs and participants. The Volunteer Center seeks to advance the University’s visionary statement that “knowledge calls, ultimately, for a life of service” by serving both as a facilitator and as an educator.

Pepperdine University is an independent, private Christian university enrolling more than 8,000 students in its five colleges and schools. Pepperdine is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence and Christian values, where students are strengthened for lives of purpose, service, and leadership.

For more information, please contact the Office of Public Relations and News at (310) 506-4138.

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