For Immediate Release — Thursday, March 2, 2006


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo students plan spring break along Gulf Coast

Altruistic and academic adventures await

GENESEO, N.Y. — "I traded my hair to raise $687.18 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. What have YOU done?" read T-shirts worn by David Hoekstra and Donovan Shirkley, resident assistants in the Nassau residence hall at the State University of New York at Geneseo.

The two resident assistants found a creative way to raise money for hurricane victims in the weeks following Hurricane Katrina—whoever raised the least amount had to shave their head. When the money was counted, Hoekstra came out on top by a mere 77 cents—both resident assistants shaved their heads.

But it wasn't enough for Hoekstra, a junior from Clarence, N.Y. "I am a firm believer that the power to do something gives you the responsibility to do so."

Hoekstra is part of a group of 51 students foregoing the traditional spring break beaches, suntans, ski resorts and nightclubs to assist with relief efforts in Harrison County, Miss. The students, along with four faculty and staff members also going on the trip, are part of Livingston CARES (Livingston County Community Action Relief Efforts).

Since the number of people able to join the Livingston CARES trip is restricted by space on the bus, some student organizations are finding other ways to help out. Twelve students in the Geneseo chapter of Habitat for Humanity will be working to eliminate poverty housing—six students in New Orleans and another six in Jacksonville, Fla.

Members of the Geneseo Outing Club also will spend the week in New Orleans working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

While these Geneseo students work to help those in need, others will take their academic experiences abroad. Meanwhile, students from a variety of majors will participate in programs to plan for life after college.

A group of students studying abroad in Dublin will spend the week enmeshed in the rich and vibrant literary, dramatic and cultural traditions of the Irish capital. Another study abroad program gives the opportunity to explore remnants of Mayan civilization at archaeological sites throughout Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Two alumni-supported externship programs allow students to explore career options over spring break. Four theatre majors will go to New York City to shadow an agent, a designer and others working in the professional theater business.

The Undergraduate Alumni Association's annual externship program will send students to Boston this year. Participants will tour the city and meet with a variety of employers representing the diverse array of opportunities offered in the area.

With all the opportunities for offbeat spring breaks, it may seem like the only decision is which to choose. For students like Hoekstra though, the choice is easy. "I want to go down there and really get in the mud, really share and take some of their burden, because I know that I could not ever imagine what I would do in their situation."

The Livingston CARES group, which formed in September as a coalition of college and community members looking for a way to help in the wake of Katrina, leaves for Harrison County March 10.

"I just do what I gotta' do regardless of who notices," said Hoekstra.

For more information on Livingston CARES, contact Tom Matthews at (585) 245-5857 or or David Hoekstra at (585) 245-7353 or