Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Welcome to the Magnolia Project

The Magnolia Project is a UC Berkeley Student Organization dedicated to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Magnolia Project, or MP, was founded by a group of students who returned from New Orleans after Spring Break 2006 and decided that UC Berkeley, as the nation's leading public institution, needed to have a bigger presence in the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast. The following school year, they planned the first 3-week MP Summer Service Trip. That summer, 2007, more than 80 Berkeley students took time out of their vacation's to gut homes, clean schools, paint historic buildings and do anything else our community partners asked.

In 2008, MP organized a 2nd three-week service trip with 65+ students. Students returned to a city that was almost 3 years on from the storm but still had plenty of work to do. Fourteen students also spent 1-week in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi where they built homes with Habitat for Humanity. That summer, Magnolia Project placed 8 interns with grassroots and government agencies around the city in order to begin participating in the long term work necessary to bring the city of New Orleans back better than it was before.

In 2009, 50 students and 8 interns returned to the Gulf Coast and encountered a city that was still in a recovery process but was having difficulty facilitating residents to return home.

Magnolia Project maintains its commitment to the Gulf Coast, both in its recovery from Katrina and overcoming the social problems that occur in all urban centers. For more information on how to get involved, attend an info session or e-mail magnolia.katrina@gmail.com.

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