“[This trip gave me] time to fully give myself to a task that wasn’t about me but about helping people.”

Destination: New Orleans, LA

Trip Organizers: Sierra Betts ’17 ([email protected]) & Caleb Miaw ’11 ([email protected])

The Experience

The recovery process in New Orleans continues a decade after Hurricane Katrina put 80% of the city underwater, caused 1,800 deaths in the region, and left behind over $100 billion in destruction. By spending spring break helping the people of New Orleans rebuild their homes, the Williams students joined a grand tradition of volunteer work of which is said, “Without it, there would be no recovery on the Gulf Coast!” Altogether, participants helped complete over 60 projects on homes.The team learned about the complex issues facing community recovery, explored how to pursue social justice back on campus, and discovered what it takes to be a world-changer dedicated to a lifetime of service. During the evenings, they explored what Jesus said about social justice and shared perspectives on the issue from all religious backgrounds.

Participant Quotes

  • “Learning/knowledge is useless without action/work. I would say that it was cool to know I was part of a larger process and long‐standing program of people coming to help. I was sorry that I couldn’t do more.”
  • “My expectations were exceeded. I had a wonderful time engaging in discussions with the people, especially my small group. We also completed a substantial amount of work.”
  • “I am now more committed to walking in my Christian faith and working towards justice.”
  • “It was one thing to read about the aftermath of Katrina through the ethnological analysis provided by a book (Markets of Sorrow, Labors of Faith), but it was another to sit down with residents and talk about their lives. I got a real‐world experience that I wouldn’t have been able to get on the Williams campus.”
  • “[This trip gave me] time to fully give myself to a task that wasn’t about me but about helping people.”
  • “I came into and left with the impression that there’s much more work to be done in New Orleans and the forgotten places similar to it.”