Sandy Recovery for Spring Break
Students from several area colleges, including NJIT, are spending their spring breaks volunteering in coastal communities hit by Hurricane Sandy.
It's spring break for many college students.
It's time to enjoy some time off from the grind of studying, hang out with a group of friends, head down to the shore, hit the beaches early and stay out all day.
And fill up trash bags with debris.
As colleges clear out this time of year some students are eschewing typical spring break activities for volunteerism, heading to coastal communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy to lend a hand.
Beach cleanups, house demolition, reconstruction, and even something as simple, and necessary, as helping residents paint their homes are jobs being handled by students who are donating some or all of their spring breaks to aid in the shore's recovery effort.
"I know that spring break is a big deal for most college kids, but when this opportunity was presented to me I went with it," New Jersey Institute of Technology student Besim Tonuzi said. "The chance to help out was more worthwhile to me than just sitting on my couch."
NJIT and its architecture department is leading the spring break volunteerism push, encouraging students and faculty to go to work in 20 recovery-related efforts. The response has been great thus far, Professor Thomas Dallessio said, and has attracted 600 registrants looking to donate their time to shore restoration.
On Saturday, a group of students was split up and sent to work cleaning up debris at Silver Lake in Point Pleasant Beach while another crew traveled to nearby Point Pleasant Borough to help a residents repaint his home. Jobs are scattered from Bergen to Atlantic County, Dallessio said, with many stops in between.
"We have students with incredible capacities," he said.
NJIT has coordinated with other colleges, like Monmouth University, to help attract more volunteers and is working with dedicated non-profits, like Shore 2 Recover and Jersey, to ensure that their volunteerism is directed through the proper channels.