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Building a house and visiting the headquarters of the cooking show “Emeril” were just two ways some University of Wisconsin Oshkosh students spent their spring break.

Fourteen members of the UW Oshkosh chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) traveled to New Orleans as part of an alternative spring break from March 20 to 27.

Amanda Stobb, a senior majoring in human resource management, helped plan the trip.

“For me, the most rewarding part of this trip was learning to work with new people who communicate and work differently than I do,” she said.

The group joined other volunteers to work on a Habitat for Humanity house for a single mother and her two small children.

“It was an opportunity for students to be exposed to a different part of the country, specifically an area hit by crisis and to see how a community bands together to deal with a crisis,” said Sarah DeArmond, faculty adviser for SHRM.

The students painted walls and installed baseboards and doors in the three-bedroom house in Harvey, La.

In addition to all of the hard work, the group also toured Emeril’s headquarters and participated in a question-and-answer session with a human resources professional at the company.

“This was amazing because we never thought we would be able to see such a famous place,” Stobb said. “The people at Emeril’s were extremely friendly and answered all of our questions.”

Another memorable part of the trip was visiting the 9th Ward in New Orleans, the location of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s “Make it Right” project.

DeArmond said the houses still left from Hurricane Katrina had spray painted numbers of how many were found dead, how many were found alive and if any pets were found.

“That hits you hard,” she said. “You really get an idea of how devastating it was.”

Houses built by the Make it Right project were a stark contrast to the ones left from the hurricane, DeArmond said.

Although much of the city is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, Stobb said she loved it there.

“New Orleans was a beautiful city,” she said. “It was very different compared to Oshkosh because the city was full of life all day and night long. This city never sleeps. There were people singing and dancing on the streets and beautiful artwork everywhere I looked.”

The trip was funded in part by a $2,500 grant from Target and the College of Business.

For more information on SHRM, visit

To read the blog from the trip, visit:

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