July 21st, 2011

Here’s another guest post from our Hess Fellow David Olsen:

On Friday, July 15th fellow intern Matthew Bracey and I joined Birmingham-Southern College’s Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action for a disaster recovery workday.

Partnering with Christian Service Mission, an eager group of BSC students and staff worked in the area of Pleasant Grove clearing out debris, garbage, and tree limbs from a blocked sewage drain. It was not the most glamorous job and because we lacked the proper tools it was very difficult, yet everyone enjoyed each other’s company and accomplished a lot of work.

Disaster recovery is a long-term project. There is still much work to be done rebuilding homes and more importantly rebuilding lives. Caitlin Barringer, AmeriCorps VISTA for the Bunting Center, said that they will organize one more disaster recovery workday this summer followed by many more workdays during the 2011-2012 school year.

The Bunting Center engages students in service-learning both across the country and across the world, but offers numerous opportunities to involve students locally. Students and faculty spent an entire month during January learning about and serving in the Woodlawn neighborhood in Birmingham. Students also learn about poverty issues that affect our state by taking classes with a service-learning component or volunteering with one of their community partners. Tornado recovery is a new opportunity for students to learn how natural disasters can affect a community and how together we can create a sustainable recovery.