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Kutztown University Fraternity Continues Katrina Cleanup Nearly a Decade Later

March 25, 2014

Members of KU's SAE fraternity volunteer at St. Bernard ProjectKUTZTOWN, Pa. - Ten members of Kutztown University's chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity traveled to New Orleans, La., March 15-22 as volunteers for the St. Bernard Project. 

Brothers spent their spring break continuing Hurricane Katrina cleanup nearly a decade later.  They were assigned to work on the exterior of homes in the lower 9th ward where they replaced rotting wood, sanded, primed and painted the homes.

"It was very surreal seeing where the devastation came and how much destruction resulted in the levies breaking," said Nathan Schwartz, a freshman at KU.

"The trip was an incredibly moving experience simply because so many houses were still uninhabitable," said Michael Rile, president of KU's SAE chapter. "After seeing this, we understood that our efforts were making a difference for someone and their family."

Those undergraduate brothers on the trip included:

  • Matthew Frizalone, Old Bridge, N.J.
  • Darius Pleasant, Feasterville, Pa. 
  • Mark Regan, Eatontown, N.J.
  • Michael Rile, Whitehall, Pa.
  • Tom Romanchick, Nesquehoning, Pa.
  • Nathan Schwartz, Richboro, Pa.
  • Lee Shehadeh, Lehighton, Pa. 
  • Phillip Smith, Red Lion, Pa.
  • Tommy Tann, Philadelphia, Pa. 

The St. Bernard Project was started in 2006 by Liz McCartney and Zack Rosenburg, a teacher and lawyer, respectively, from Washington, D.C., after they saw the tremendous needs, yet solvable problems in the New Orleans region. During their initial month of service, they met residents who were courageous, spirited and determined to rebuild their lives and community.  The organization provides vital resources and support to families in a seamless and timely manner.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon is one of the largest national fraternities in the country, with more than 14,000 undergraduate members in 241 chapters and colonies. Sigma Alpha Epsilon Penn Kappa has the highest grade point (GPA) average of all fraternities at KU and the highest male average GPA.

In the fall of 2012, seven brothers of KU's SAE fraternity traveled to Brick, NJ, to help out a brother whose town was destroyed after Hurricane Sandy.

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