Twenty-four students and four advisers from Penn State Behrend are participating in an Alternative Spring Break service trip to Beaumont, Texas. The group will be helping residents recover from the catastrophic flooding that occurred as a result of Hurricane Harvey, which hit the greater Houston area in August of 2017, causing at least $125 billion in damages and claiming 108 lives. Behrend’s ASB group is being joined by five other Penn State campuses, including Greater Allegheny, Harrisburg, Scranton, University Park, and York.
By Heather Cass
Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communication, and 2018 ASB participant
Day 1 – Travel Day
Most of the students attending this year’s ASB trip met at Reed Wintergarden at 2:30 a.m. to catch a 3 a.m. charter bus to the Pittsburgh airport for a 7:30 a.m. flight to Houston.
We arrived in Houston at 9:30 a.m. (Texas is an hour behind Erie time) and after a few hours at the rental car company (don’t ask), we all headed to Whataburger for lunch.
We had some time before we needed to be at our volunteer location, so the group headed for a local flea market to take in the local culture and enjoy a few churros.
After a few hours at the flea market, we headed to our “home” for the week, Cathedral Church, in Beaumont, Texas.
Those who have been on past ASB trips, say the accommodations are plush compared to previous trips. All of the Behrend women are in one room on cots (think summer camp) and the men are in another building. There are shower trailers outdoors and a tent for outdoor dining when the larger Penn State contingency arrives in the next two days.
After dinner provided by the church members and an orientation meeting, the group did a Walmart run to stock up on hard-to-pack items like pillows and blankets.
Lights out is at 10:30 p.m., which is fine by me as I’ve been up nearly 24 hours now, and we have to be up early for breakfast at 7:15 a.m.
Tomorrow is our cultural day and we have an 11 a.m. tour scheduled at NASA’s Houston Space Center.
Monday, we get to work!