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 Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Student Perspective: Spring break fusion of service and fun
by Dana Silva, sophomore, School of Journalism and Mass Communication

It’s almost spring, a time when students escape winter-dreary classrooms and stuffy dorms in search of a memorable spring break. Some migrate to warm beaches and ocean breezes, others use spring break as a chance to cure homesickness. For those seeking something different, the Volunteer Resource Center gives students a chance to get away from it all while getting involved through the Alternative Breaks program.

Each year, groups of college students are sent out across the nation during college breaks to give helping hands to various service projects. Students can choose from eight different trips based on their individual interests and travel destinations. Those who prefer a desert scene can trek through Moad, Utah to work on conservation and restoration of the scenery. Others who prefer the beach can venture to Catalina Island, California or Boulder Creek, California for environmental education and repair. If an adventure in a big city sounds appealing, students can travel to San Francisco, California or Chicago, Illinois to work with children and community members on issues like education and HIV/AIDS.

“I can’t believe how many different opportunities Alternative Breaks has to offer CU students,” said Samantha Kleven, sophomore speech, language and hearing sciences major and active participant in this year’s trip to Boulder Creek, California. “It’s like nothing I’ve ever done.”

Alternative Breaks also offers students a chance to travel to Maryland, Tennessee to work with Native American tribes, New Orleans, Louisiana to help with Hurricane Katrina relief and Cincinnati, Ohio for a hands-on experience with urban poverty.

“People are starting to really want to get involved with the work we do,” said Meghan Montgomery, sophomore international affairs major and Alternative Breaks trip coordinator. “The trips were more popular this year than any time in the past. Each trip is full and set to go.”

The Alternative Breaks main goal is to provide students with an opportunity to not just take a vacation but to fully immerse themselves in social experiences in order to make a positive impact on other communities.

“It’s an incredibly rewarding experience,” Montgomery said. “I really think that it’s important to use the resources you have through your college education to help others, and see other communities and how they operate.”

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