From documenting damage to roads and bridges to organizing a thank-you event for volunteers who cleaned up local fairgrounds, students have begun working in communities across the state through a new summer serviceship program created in the wake of this year’s devastating flooding.
Twenty-four students, representing the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and University of Nebraska at Kearney are beginning serviceships in 14 communities, with more students being placed on an ongoing basis as students’ skills are matched with local needs.
Based on a successful model developed by the University of Nebraska system’s Rural Futures Institute, the flood recovery serviceship program will place a maximum of 50 students in communities across the state to work with local leaders on recovery efforts. Applications are still being accepted. Community leaders with ideas for serviceship projects are also encouraged to continue to apply to serve as hosts for students.
Serviceships run a maximum of 10 weeks each, up to 40 hours per week, based on a student’s schedule and a community’s needs. Students are paid $12.50 per hour and may be able to earn college credit for their work.
Students engaged in the program thus far represent a wide range of disciplines, including agriculture, teaching, business administration, engineering, communications and more.
Alyssa Spartz, an emergency management major and honors student at UNO, will help organize an event celebrating volunteers who helped rebuild the Washington County fairgrounds in Arlington, which sustained an estimated $18,000 in damage from the floods. In spite of the damage, thanks to volunteer efforts, the Washington County Fair is scheduled to take place July 26-31.
“I’m extremely excited to take part in the flood recovery efforts for the chance to apply the knowledge that I have learned at UNO to a real-world experience,” Spartz said. “I signed up for the serviceship for the opportunity to give back to my community members who were impacted by this tragic disaster. Unfortunately, individuals across the county may not realize the major impacts the flooding caused and the amount of time, resources and effort it will take to recover.
“As a Nebraska native, I want to reassure my community members that they have not been forgotten and that there are individuals like myself who are here to support them as they recover throughout the entire process.”
The flood serviceship program is funded by a $250,000 investment from the University of Nebraska system. Complete information on the university’s flood response efforts is available here.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.