Fighting Poverty with Passion
Service learning at the Gulf Restoration Network saw significant achievements in fall 2010, and the spring 2011 program is set to build on this success in the next five months. In fall 2010, more than 40 students served over 600 combined hours performing critical environmental outreach to the public and building awareness of how people in the Gulf of Mexico region can restore and protect the habitats critical to coastal communities. Students organized movie screening events showcasing the GRN’s Gulf Tides YouTube series on the continuing impacts of BP’s Drilling Disaster as well as helping construct the wetlands display at the VOODOO Music Experience.
For spring 2011, forty students are signed up to work with the GRN to satisfy their public service graduation requirement at Tulane. Students will continue environmental outreach, building the movement for a Healthy Gulf, and they will also participate in the one-year memorial of the BP Oil Drilling Disaster on April 20, 2011.
The three AmeriCorps VISTAs that have served the GRN since 2007 have contributed significantly to building the service-learning program. The program is now a substantive component of the GRN’s wider grassroots organizing work, and what will likely be the final AmeriCorps VISTA serving with the GRN begins in late February. With Tulane’s Center for Public Service and the Gulf Restoration Network supporting her work toward program sustainability, this ultimate VISTA will institutionalize the service-learning program at the Gulf Restoration Network, ensuring the program continues after the conclusion of VISTA support.
-Nick Poggioli, AmeriCorps VISTA. For more information on volunteer opportunities, please visit the Gulf Restoration Network’s website.