Bill Ross and Habitat for Humanity: Volunteerin' in the Big Easy

March 15, 2012

From the Campus Journal:

The idea for the Discovery course Bill Ross teaches on New Orleans was born in the city known as the birthplace of jazz, the Big Easy. Bill took his very first trip there when the city was what he described as a "dirty, rundown place full of rowdy people and loud music." He returned after Hurricane Katrina hit, after the levees breached and lives were lost, to volunteer to rebuild a city with so much history.

"New Orleans: Place, Meaning, and Context" is an inquiry class taught by Bill Ross. This class is geared toward first-year students that has them traveling to Louisiana’s largest city to do community service work during Spring Break with UNH’s Alternative Break Challenge. After six weeks in the classroom, they pack up for Spring Break to volunteer in the Big Easy for Habitat for Humanity.

"Telling students the history of New Orleans is not as exciting as seeing it. It makes it real. You can talk all you want about architecture but walking through a shotgun house and scraping paint on a front porch is a whole different thing. You can talk about the cuisine but it’s not like ordering a po’boy. You can talk about the music but listening to it—there’s nothing like the tangible experience of hearing live music."

Read more at the course blog: Where y'at? The New Orleans Course.