Ole Spring Relief great way for students to spend spring break

When I found out that Ole Spring Relief (OSR) was going to New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama, I was ecstatic. I heard such great stories about OSR from my friends, so I knew I had to go. I was especially excited about going to New Orleans as I wanted to learn more about Hurricane Katrina relief.

OSR is a service trip where you travel to a certain state and do various volunteer activities. What makes it unique is that you stay in churches (you learn to sleep on the floor) and participate in bonding activities. Although this may sound scary at first, you quickly become comfortable. One of the bonding activities we played was “Hot Seat.” This took place on the bus, since it was quite a long road trip to New Orleans. In this game, a person is nominated to be in the “hot seat,” and they stand in the front of the bus with a microphone. People can ask them any questions they want. Certainly, a lot of questions get personal, but this activity  helps you learn a lot about a person in just a few minutes. Though you might not like all the bonding activities on the trip, I appreciated them because they allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and meet many new people.

The service activities were also an important aspect of the trip. In New Orleans, we did a variety of things, including gardening in a neighborhood affected by Hurricane Katrina, painting/cleaning churches and working on a horse ranch. In Mobile, students collaborated with Habitat for Humanity and focused on building houses.

OSR is a trip I highly recommend to anyone passionate about service or looking to get to know more people at Olaf.” Laras Kettner ’21

I think one of my favorite things about our trip to New Orleans was listening to Pastor Jerome’s story about Hurricane Katrina as we ate the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. I enjoyed exchanging stories with people while painting churches or pulling out weeds. I loved the few free hours we had to explore the French Quarter and eat freshly baked beignets.

OSR is a trip I highly recommend to anyone passionate about service or looking to get to know more people at Olaf. Next spring break, consider Ole Spring Relief!

Laras Kettner ’21 (kettne1@stolaf.edu) is from Falls Church, Va. She majors in nursing.