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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

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April 11, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
Spring Housing Guide

Journey to aid New Orleans

My arms are covered in bug bites and bruises, there’s dirt under my fingernails, and if I hear the song “Life Is A Highway” one more time, I might scream. But I don’t remember a time I’ve felt this alive.

This was my second time returning home from a New Orleans rebuilding trip this year knowing I’d be going back to the Big Easy.

Days one and two: The big easy or bust

On Friday, Dec. 16, 112 BGSU students and faculty members loaded two charter coaches and began their winter breaks with a day-and-a-half bus ride. We arrived in St. Bernard Parish on Saturday and immediately went to Camp Hope, our home for the week. Just like many of the buildings in the area, high waterlines scarred Camp Hope’s walls from post-Katrina flooding. Upon our arrival to Camp Hope, we were given a few guidelines: take quick showers, be up by 6 a.m. and oh, don’t flush your toilet paper, place it in the bucket. Welcome to a recovery camp.

Day three: Downtown New Orleans

Blue skies, short sleeves and fresh-squeezed lemonade … in December? We spent Sunday downtown, enjoying the New Orleans culture, food and shops. We explored the French Quarter, watched street performers and shopped in the French market. Together we dined on alligator and danced to blue grass music at Mulate’s for dinner.

Day four: Gutting, as glamorous as it sounds

When a house is abandoned, filled with water and then left alone for 15 months, I’ve learned you can count on two things: a disastrous mess and smells you didn’t even know existed.

On Monday morning, each work team was dropped off at a separate house and spent the entire day gutting.

I remember when my team, the Habitat Homies, opened the front door to our designated home for the first time. We all just stood there and stared at the interior of the house. Wall mirrors were shattered, couches were overturned and broken drywall covered the floor. That was just the front room.

As we dug our way through the debris and cleared out the first room, we made our way into a seemingly endless series of other rooms that were all unlit and complete disasters.

After a lunch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and canned FEMA water, some of us journeyed to the second story of the house, where we discovered the waterlines. About half way up the walls we could see the mold infesting the drywall from where floodwater lingered after Hurricane Katrina.

I had spent a week last summer gutting houses in New Orleans, but the second story of this house hit home more than the others before it. All of the rooms upstairs were the kids’ bedrooms, and from what we could tell, they were all about our age. Old yearbooks, DVDs and trophies littered the carpet. We salvaged what we could and threw away what was destroyed.

After five exhausting hours of carrying furniture and tearing up carpet, we collapsed across the street as we waited for our bus to pick us up. We stared at the 7-foot trash pile that had accumulated in the front lawn, proud of what we had accomplished.

Day five and six: Our habitat home

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we were fortunate enough to work with Habitat for Humanity in their Musicians Village where New Orleans musicians would live next door to families from the community.

So far, the Musicians Village was filled with roughly 30 brand new, brightly colored homes and had space for dozens more. Our job was to help take those homes from a dream to a reality.

My team was taken to a home with the framework pretty much completed, but still had a lot of work to be done. Once on site, we volunteered for different tasks and started our workday.

I volunteered to help with hurricane strips and braces.

Hammer the top of the metal strip into the top of the frame, bend the metal strip and then hammer it into a 90-degree angle.

And the people that thought they couldn’t spend a day standing on the beams of an open roof? Well, they did. And people that had never used a power saw before? They spent the day cutting wood.

Our Habitat work showed us that every little thing does make a difference. We didn’t finish our house, it’s impossible to do that in two days, but we did help build a home for a family in need.

Day seven: And then the rains came…

When we went to bed on Wednesday night, it was raining. When we woke up on Thursday, it was still raining.

In fact, it was raining so hard that the backyard of Camp Hope was quickly becoming a lake.

Because of the rain, we missed the dedication of our Habitat home, but had the opportunity to help out Camp Hope.

Each work team was given a task to help clean up camp, like sweeping the gym or cleaning the bathrooms. When that was finished, we were all asked to form an assembly line and help move some boxes of food from the kitchen to the front entrance.

Some boxes turned out to be a couple hundred of the heaviest boxes I’ve ever lifted and it turns out the kitchen and the front entrance are at opposite ends of Camp Hope.

I can’t even count the number of times I heard someone say “only 10 more boxes” but 11 boxes later, we were still passing. In fact, two hours later, my arms were covered in bruises and we were still passing boxes.

But it was all worth it.

Why?

About half way through the box passing, someone started singing and then someone else joined in, and pretty soon we had sung every Christmas carol you can think of.

The look on the faces of the Camp Hope volunteers made it all worth it. They smiled, laughed, videotaped and hugged us, constantly thanking us for the holiday spirit.

So maybe I never wanted to see a box of canned tomatoes again, but we had brought holiday cheer to some of the people who needed it the most.

As the last box passed through the hands of those at the end of the line, the other hundred students rushed to the front entrance of Camp Hope, chanting:

“B-G!”

“S-U!”

“B-G!”

“S-U!”

In the end, it was 100 BG voices chanting “Ziggy Ziggy Zoomba,” proud of what they were able to accomplish as a team. 112 voices. 112 Falcons. 112 strong.

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