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UCO Students Spend Spring Break Helping Hurricane Sandy Victims

March 27, 2013 

Media Contact: Courtney Harlin, University Relations Staff Writer, University of Central Oklahoma, 405-974-2121,


Image of participantsRather than a week of relaxing at home or on a beach, a group of students and staff from the University of Central Oklahoma spent their spring break traveling to Gerritsen Beach and Far Rockaway, N.Y. for Central's "Alternative Spring Break," March 17-23, to aid in the hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts.

Alternative Spring Break is an annual community service project Central’s Volunteer and Service Learning Center (VSLC) sponsors each spring break, allowing students to volunteer their time and efforts on their time off.

This year, the VSLC is partnered with New York Cares, the city's largest volunteer organization, running volunteer programs for 1,300 nonprofits, city agencies, and public schools.

“Our students were able to meet residents that were directly effected by Sandy and helped them start to rebuild and recover their homes.  The trip helped them see that anyone can make a difference through service,” said Rachel Winters, assistant director of Central’s VSLC.

The students worked on four different homes in varying stages of the gutting mold remediation process.  This involved demolition of the walls and floors to get rid of the rotting materials, cleaning the space with vacuums and mold removal spray, and scrubbing the remaining structures with big wire brushes down to a toothbrush size to get out the majority of the mold.  

For more information about volunteer and service opportunities at Central, contact the VSLC at 405-974-2621 or visit


Editor’s Note: Art for publication may be downloaded at

Cutline: University of Central Oklahoma students and staff (from left) Eunju Mo, Jeongeon Lee, Rachel Winters, Chelsey Dumas, Alyssa Juarez, and Steven Oakes aided in the hurricane Sandy disaster relief efforts as part of the university’s Alternative Spring Break. The group wore suits to protect them from potentially harmful substances while cleaning mold from damaged houses.