During Easter break, 17 MBA students from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business traveled to New Orleans to partner with Habitat for Humanity in building a home for a family directly affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Tahira Taylor (MBA ’17), vice president of community service for the Student Government Association, started the trek as a way to incorporate travel with volunteerism.
“Once I got the role of vice president of community service, I started thinking about different ways to give the MBAs that travel experience, while also tying it into service,” she said.
Upon arriving to New Orleans, the students found themselves waking up at 5:30 a.m. to cut wood, hammer nails, and piece together the bare bones of a house.
“It was difficult waking up early and doing hard work every day,” Taylor said. “But it taught us a lot about teamwork. When building a house, there are a lot of steps in between and we all had to be aware of what everyone else was doing so that all of our pieces fit together.”
The students, from both the full-time and evening MBA program, were able to experience the resilience of New Orleans and, at the end of the trip, see their hard work manifested in a house for a family of six.
“Some of us got to meet the mom of the family,” Taylor said. “Just to hear her story and how important it was to her that we were helping meant a lot. It also was great to hear her personal opinion about [Hurricane] Katrina. You see the news reports, but to hear someone who went through it first hand and how you’re helping was an amazing feeling.”
Taylor credits Georgetown’s Jesuit values for the trip’s inception and consequent success.
“Georgetown encourages selfless care for other people and a service to society,” she said. “We were able to put a face to our work when we met the family and the experience allowed us to do something good for others.”
Taylor hopes to make the service trek an annual event, setting her eyes on international travel for next year’s trip.
In the meantime, the family in New Orleans will move into their new home in two months.