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UND students on Pay it Forward bus tour help clean up Memphis

Posted on 3/14/2012

Forty University of North Dakota students on the Pay it Forward spring break bus tour are in Hot Springs, Ark., Wednesday after spending Tuesday helping to clean up a neighborhood in Memphis, Tenn.

Taylor Brost, Sartell, Minn. - a student intern with UND's Office of University Relations who's on the tour - reported from the road that the group will be assisting with cleanup and fix-up projects the community of Hot Springs, Ark., today before making their final stop in Dallas.

On Tuesday, they worked with the Oasis of Hope, a faith-based organization in Memphis which helps provide housing for people living below the poverty level. Brost said they spent the day cleaning up a neighborhood in which the Oasis of Hope is active.

Approximately 120 UND students in three separate buses are spending their spring breaks on the annual Pay it Forward Tour, volunteering their time to serve communities around the country.

Last Friday morning, three buses left the UND campus, each carrying approximately 40 students. One bus is headed for Washington, D.C., and another for Dallas, Texas. The destination of third "mystery bus" will remain unknown until the day of its arrival. Along the way, students participate in community service activities and assist charitable organizations.

Brost is among the students spending their spring break on the road as part of the tour. His bus has also made stops in Sioux City, Iowa, Lawrence, Kan., and East St. Louis, Mo., to participate in projects of benefit to those communities.

"It's going really well," he noted. "You meet lots of different people from different cultures and you feel really good about what you're doing."

His group has helped get a camp for special needs children up and running in Sioux City, painted rain barrels and started plants germinating for planting around Lawrence and cleaned up a rehabilitation center in East St. Louis.

Another benefit of the tour is getting to know other students better.

"This is my second tour, and by the end of the trip everyone knows everyone so well that they can get together and go out to do jobs around the local community," Brost said. "It's a real bonding experience and a great thing that UND offers."

All three buses will return to UND on Saturday, March 16.

Patrick Miller, writer/editor
UND Office of University Relations

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