St. Olaf College | News

Students spend spring break helping with tornado cleanup

SpringBreakWorker350x275St. Olaf College students who are spending this week helping Illinois communities clean up after a devastating tornado tell the local CBS affiliate that it’s a rewarding way to spend spring break.

“We’ve found that a lot of our students are really transformed by the experience,” says Eric Lander ’14, one of the leaders of this year’s Ole Spring Relief trip. “We’re able to hear a lot of really interesting stories, hear from the community, and help them out in whatever way.”

Students participating in this year’s program traveled to central Illinois to help communities still recovering from an EF-4 tornado that hit last November. Lander is with a group of 80 students in Washington, Illinois, and another 40 students are in Gifford, Illinois, where they told the local FOX affiliate that they are happy to assist with tasks large and small. Both groups of students are spending much of their time picking up debris and helping with demolition and home repairs.

The student-led Ole Spring Relief program has provided assistance to communities affected by disasters since 2006, when students organized a spring break trip to help those hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. It’s the college’s most popular and established spring break service trip.