Tarleton students to showcase Hurricane Harvey rebuild projects


STEPHENVILLE (April 16, 2019) — A team of Tarleton State University students who spent their spring break helping Hurricane Harvey survivors rebuild their homes will showcase their work at an exhibition Monday, April 22.

The showcase takes place from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Math 125 on the Stephenville campus. The public is invited.

The service learning project was part of Crisis Communication, a course designed and taught by Communication Studies professor Dr. Cessna Winslow. Leading up to the project, the 16 students studied crisis communication strategies, and then over spring break they helped residents in the Rockport area rebuild their homes.

With resources, training and supervision provided by Samaritan’s Purse, the all-female Tarleton team worked on seven homes. In addition to using and learning construction skills, the group visited with Rockport Mayor Pat Rios, the Emergency Operations Center and the Chamber of Commerce. The students toured the area and met with residents, first responders and others affected by the Category 4 hurricane that ravaged the Texas Gulf Coast in August 2017.

This is the second year the Department of Communication Studies has offered the course. The success and popularity of last year’s class inspired Winslow to teach it again. With Rockport still struggling, she decided to volunteer and complete the service learning project close to home instead of other disaster-hit regions.

Crisis Communication students spent their spring break helping Hurricane Harvey survivors rebuild their homes.

While much has improved in the area, Rockport and the surrounding communities still need help. “At the end of the week, we were exhausted, yet exhilarated. Our students worked hard and had a positive impact on the community and the residents,” Winslow said.

“I am proud of these hard-working, compassionate Tarleton students, and I appreciate their willingness to give up their spring break to serve others.”’

Junior Blayre Harrison found the outreach unforgettable.

“Experiential learning is the best part about education, and this class fully submerged us in the experience. Working with Samaritan’s Purse and helping homeowners was amazing,” she said. “The guest speakers we had were incredible and full of knowledge and helped solidify what we learned in class. Our projects reflect the best parts of the experience, from each of our perspectives.”

The students will use photography, video, social media and essays to share their experiences. Their stories will detail Harvey’s impact on survivors and relief workers, along with the role disaster relief agencies play in the recovery and the ongoing need for volunteers.

For more information about the showcase or the Crisis Communication course, contact Dr. Cessna Winslow at 254-968-9751 or [email protected].


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