MTV Selects Students to Help with Sandy Relief

For two University students, spring break was no longer exclusively about vacation, relaxation, and time off from work and school; it was about supporting the East Coast and its recovery after Hurricane Sandy. Freshmen Thomas Egan and Dylan Vargas took part in MTV, mtvU and United Way’s “Spring Fix.” This was an alternative spring break focused on efforts to rebuild communities devastated by the forces of Sandy.

Egan and Vargas volunteered for “Spring Fix” from March 17 to March 23 with 48 other college students around the United States. Their efforts were aimed at restoring the beach areas of New Jersey and New York including Union Beach, the Rockaways, Staten Island, Long Island and Lavallette.

The students were split up into five different groups, each working to rebuild homes, churches and other places that had been harmed due to the super storm. Site managers were present during “Spring Fix” to offer support and encouragement.

Egan said he was assigned to demolish the inside of a church that had been flooded with eight feet of water during the storm. “We all have never really worked with tools before,” Egan said. “We just started going at toilets, floor tilings, kitchen cabinets and walls with sledgehammers. That was my first time ever with a sledgehammer, and let me say that it was such an overpowering feeling to hit something that you are here to help get better,” he added.

Both Vargas and Egan applied online to MTV to participate in this volunteer work. After filling out a series of questions, the students were asked to submit a YouTube video detailing why they were interested in the position. During the first week of March, the students were informed that they were two of the 50 students chosen to participate in the event.

“I chose to participate and apply based on the fact that New Jersey is my home and seeing this devastation and the struggle people are going through makes me want to help in any way I can,” Vargas said. “I grew up there visiting in the summers down the shore and seeing it gone now makes me think that I would love nothing more than to help be a part of a team who can help rebuild a place that means so much to so many people,” he continued.

Six Flags Great Adventure showcased a benefit concert to show appreciation toward those involved in the “Spring Fix” efforts. Artists such as Ne-Yo, Timeflies, and Sammy Adams performed at the event.

MTV brought along stars to help lend the students a hand. “My group was fortunate to get Andrew Jenks from ‘World of Jenks,’” Egan said. “It was great to see celebrities come out of their daily lives to help with such an important cause because it shows that they actually do care about people who are at the lowest point in their lives.”

The footage from “Spring Fix” is also available online at http://www.mtvu.com/shows/spring-break and http://www.mtv.com/shows/spring_break/2013/series.html.

Egan expressed that he and Vargas are interested in creating a Student United Way at the University. He said that the club will take part in various types of volunteer work for different locations as well as participate in fundraising events. “We are really excited and cannot wait for it to be up and running,” he said.