Students choose service over spring break sun
We all obviously know that the flood happened. We saw all the video, the film, the pictures. But once you actually get to these houses seven months later, and the fact that they’re all just sitting there rotting, basically, it’s really just devastating.
The reason I got involved with the alternative spring break program was because I work for the Office of Admissions, and some of our counselors are from Cedar Rapids, so they really wanted to get involved with it. So they asked us if we would be interested in trying to help. So we tried going to several local businesses, getting donations of bottled water, safety goggles, and then we got the students to actually go sign up and volunteer.
It’s pretty cool to see students actually putting in the extra time and being pretty selfless—instead of going and getting a tan or hanging out and partying, they’re up here in Cedar Rapids, trying to help a local community that is very close to Iowa City and the University.
We got there, and first they pretty much just laid out a bunch of tools, ‘grab something and we’ll give you specific tasks.’ It was pretty basic. I thought ‘OK, I can handle this, I’ve got a hammer, this isn’t too bad.’ And then they gave us crowbars and shovels, and had us peel off about seven layers of floor. We had other students who were taking down drywall, some going at that with a crowbar and a hammer. Basically just getting every article out of those houses.
So the entire sidewalk was just covered with garbage and with drywall, floors, and then you see the teddy bears and the dolls and the strollers sitting out there, and it just breaks your heart.
I think it’s great that Sally Mason got out there because she was out there over the summer, trying to help sandbag the river, and for her to be out showing her support for something that’s not even where the University is located, just shows that she’s really committed to the community and the state as a whole—not just for educating but just for the greater good.
Here is a link to the slideshow audio file.
Two students in protective masks, using crowbars and hammers to pull out damaged wood in a flooded home.
Young woman wearing a protective mask uses a claw hammer to pull nails.
Closeup of someone pulling nails with a claw hammer.
Two people using crowbars to pull up floor boards.
Three people with crowbars pulling up floorboards.
Student pries up damaged flooring with a crowbar.
Student carries floor boards to junk pile.
Student carries pieces of damaged flooring to trash pile at the curb. Stuffed animals on the porch railing in the foreground.
Student adds more flooring boards to trash pile at the curb.
Student in an Iowa t-shirt and baseball cap downs a bottle of water.
Student pries up warped flooring with a crowbar.
Student in protective mask carries an armload of damaged building material.
Gutted bathroom. Large hole in plaster above the bathtub.
Student pulls up another flooring board.
Student wearing face mask throws another flooring piece on the pile.
Two students work together to pry up damaged floorboards.
House is nearly gutted. Young woman works to pull up another flooring piece.
It looks like a stage set. Three students in foreground pull floorboards while a fourth student chips at plaster in a curved archway.
Two young woman lift a large panel of linoleum flooring strewn with plaster.
Students carry large section of linoleum to the trash pile.
Student tosses a piece of wood onto the trash pile.
A bookshelf, a plastic drawer set and a huge pile of building debris stand at the curb outside two flooded homes.
Damaged furniture, household goods, building materials line the curbside. Houses in background.
Student carries long narrow piece of wood to rubbish pile.
Student a baseball cap takes off goggles and face mask and takes a break.
UI President Sally Mason talks to the man who owns the house volunteers are rehabbing.
Sally Mason paints a wall. Her husband Ken works in the background.
Sally Mason paints wall in staircase.
Sally and Ken Mason work together to paint a wall.
Links to other slideshow transcript/gallery pages: