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Service With a Smile

August 30, 2010 1:15 AM
Joe Halm and Carol J. Schlueter

Despite rainy skies, 1,500 Tulane volunteers extended helping hands to the New Orleans community on Friday and Saturday (Aug. 27–28) at more than 25 service locations, garnering attention from national leaders on the weekend commemorating the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's landfall.

Scott Cowen and Lisa Jackson

At City Park, Tulane President Scott Cowen, left, and Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, join in with volunteers doing landscaping at Friday's Wave of Green service day. (Photo by Sally Asher)

Joining a cadre of Tulane faculty and staff members working at City Park on Friday was alumna Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Jackson and Tulane President Scott Cowen planted a crape myrtle.

“Projects like these are vital to New Orleans and the environment,” Jackson said. “This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of people helping to preserve this park and the environment.”

Friday was “Wave of Green” service day for Tulane employees, who headed to City Park for landscaping and fix-up duties, or to Frenchmen Street in New Orleans' Seventh Ward, where Habitat for Humanity is constructing five homes.

Cowen made the rounds of volunteers before their departure from campus on Friday, saying, “You mean so much to our city. Your volunteerism speaks volumes to who we are.”

students building a home

Tulane employees pitch in at a Habitat for Humanity home on Frenchmen Street in the 7th Ward. They were among 500 faculty and staff members who participated in the service day. (Photo by Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo)

Roger Dunaway nailed up boards on the front of one Habitat house, a far different task than his usual Friday work as assistant athletics director. His co-worker in athletics communications, Richie Weaver, peered over the edge of a roof, where he was hammering.

Other buses headed to City Park on Friday, where one team painted playground structures in the Storyland area and another group pulled weeds, planted trees and put down fresh mulch near the park's Popp Fountain.

Volunteer Lynn Pearlmutter, an associate professor of social work, said, “This was a wonderful chance to give back to the park that has provided me with so much enjoyment.”

The Tulane campus in Madison, Miss., also participated in the service day, hosting a food drive to help replenish a Madison County food pantry.

On Saturday, 1,000 students went into New Orleans neighborhoods for the annual Outreach Tulane. At a party afterwards, Cowen and Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, lauded the students for their commitment to public service.