Student Leaders to Assist Georgia Tornado Victims

February 23, 2017

Student leaders at Mary Baldwin University will travel to Albany, Georgia, March 6–10 to help communities that were affected by a line of late-January tornadoes.

Opting out of their traditional spring break, 10 student leaders from several MBU organizations, including resident advisors (RAs) and members of the Resident Hall Association (RHA), will make the alternative spring break trip, working with distribution centers, as well as the local Red Cross, to make a positive impact on the effected communities.

A Georgia native, MBU Director of Resident Life Ericka Jackson will serve as coordinator. She is also an alumna of Albany State University and was inspired to plan the trip from friends and family.

Ericka Jackson, director of Residence Life

“I was talking to a former classmate on social media,” said Jackson. “She let me know there is still work to be done down there.”

A line of severe weather on January 23 formed several deadly tornadoes in Georgia. Most hard hit was the area near Albany, which saw at least 14 deaths. It was the largest tornado outbreak on record in Georgia with 41 tornadoes confirmed in the state.

Although the main focus of the trip will be to help victims of the storm, the students will also attend leadership development seminars in Atlanta focused on furthering their leadership capabilities. Jackson put out a call to action to her RAs and was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm from student leaders.

“The response from the RAs was so positive that I decided to reach out to other student-led organizations like RHA,” said Jackson.

On the first night of the trip, the group will stop in Atlanta where they will visit the National Center of Civil and Human Rights.

“I thought that was a good way to start a conversation about who real leaders are and how they serve their communities,” Jackson said.

Later that night the students will have dinner and listen to several guest speakers who specialize in leadership at a local conference center.

Speakers will discuss topics such as leadership behaviors and finding one’s authentic self.

Local organizations, such as the city of Albany Department of Community and Economic Development and Strive 2 Thrive, will further guide the students with their leadership growth.

As they prepare for their trip, the student leaders are collecting canned food and non-perishable items to support the Georgia families. Food items may be dropped off outside the Office of Residence Life (Kable House, Room 116) in a green container labeled with the food drive flyer. The last day to donate is March 2.