Black Hills State University students traveling to New Orleans to help with hurricane relief this spring have two new reasons to celebrate: a generous monetary donation and a collaboration with South Dakota State University students.

Premier Bank, headquartered in Sioux Falls, has donated $2,000 to the BHSU Alternative Spring Break Team. Funds from Premier will be used to defray transportation costs for the trip.

The BHSU group of 17 students has also embraced the opportunity to share their bus with a group of student volunteers from SDSU.  Fifteen SDSU students and their leader will join the BHSU Alternative Spring Break Team in Sioux Falls before heading to New Orleans Saturday, March 3. The groups will return Saturday, March 10.

Once in New Orleans, the groups will part ways. BHSU students will volunteer with the non-profit group Hands On New Orleans while SDSU students will work with Camp Restore. Planned projects for the volunteers include gutting houses, removing mold, rebuilding, and working with displaced hurricane victims. The return trip will allow participants from both teams the unique opportunity to network and share their experiences with one another.

The BHSU team is holding fundraising events to help pay for costs, room and board. Costs that are not otherwise funded will be the responsibility of the students. For more information about Alternative Spring Break, contact Janette Hettick, volunteer coordinator in the BHSU Community-University-Resource-Exchange (C-U-R-E) office, at 642-6471.