Last year, Hofstra’s Alternative Spring Break program went to El Paso, Texas to build homes. This year’s trip was different. Instead of constructing homes, the group demolished them.
A group of Hofstra students and staff members made their way to Bayboro, North Carolina to help people in Bayboro who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy and could not afford to salvage them. Before the Hofstra groups came, homes were condemned and left on display for all of Bayboro to see. The group, which included 30 students and two Hofstra staff members, worked in conjunction with the National Relief Network to remove these homes.
During its weeklong stay at Bayboro, the group managed to demolish three of these condemned homes, ridding the community of at least a few of its eyesores.
Destroying a home versus building one was something that created conflict within the group, as it was hard to appreciate the work that was being done when there was not necessarily progression to be seen.
“It was definitely different,” said Ashley Gray, an assistant director of OSLA. “In the beginning, the students weren’t quite sure what they were getting out of the experience.”
But Victoria Bohme, one of the trip’s student coordinators and junior forensics science major, said that this demolition was not all negative.
“Even though it sucks to take something down and destroy it, we’re giving another family a chance to start anew and build from the ground up,” Bohme said. “It was definitely still a lot of fun. I had never sledge hammered concrete slabs before... I took out a lot of anger.”
This year's initiative differed last year's because Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that builds homes for struggling families around the world, would only allow a small number of students to attend. Last year’s trip was limited to 12 students. This year, Hofstra wanted to make sure it did not turn away any eager students.
“When people want to give back to the community, we want to be able to let as many people get out there and help,” said Gray.
Hofstra has not announced whether it will be staying with the National Relief Network for next year’s trip or transitioning to a different organization.