TCU Daily Skiff Friday, March 05, 2004
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Students enjoy giving back to community over Spring Break

Christina Ruffini

Oh, the joys of Spring Break. Lounging around, sucking on tropical drinks with little umbrellas in them, and enjoying the view on some exotic beach might just be the dream of every college student. When most of us think about Spring Break, we think of hot bodies, girls gone wild and an abject lack of supervision, but a new revolution is occurring on college campuses across America — the Service Revolution.

More and more often, average college students of every variety are choosing Spring Break service projects. With exotic destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica, France, England, South Africa and even the Czech Republic, students are discovering student learning as an inexpensive and gratifying spring experience.

Even TCU is jumping on the bandwagon. Our local chapter of Habitat for Humanity is sponsoring a trip to Los Lunas, NM. University Ministries is organizing the trip and has applications for anyone interested in its office. The Habitat trip is a great opportunity to build friendships, houses and resumes. Besides, what other organization offers a trip to Mexico with transportation, lodging, food and building materials for $100?

“It is a great program because its not a hand out it is a hand up,” said Robin Williamson, director of community service.

If anyone is thinking that they are completely inept at construction and that any house they helped build would actually be a hazard to the occupants, do not fret. More options await you. The Onshore Offshore Expeditions organization combines service, language and cultural emersion in their “adventure” programs. They collaborate with organizations such as the Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity and United States Forest Service on service projects to be completed by their participants. They often work on Native American reservations in states such as Colorado, Florida and Arizona. Trips range in price from $1,250 to around $3,000. Onshore Offshore Expeditions guarantees the experience of a lifetime. For more information visit www.oaeadventures.com.

For the student interested in an international experience, there is the International Partnership for Service Learning. With programs in 14 countries including the Czech Republic, Ecuador, India, Israel, Thailand and Russia, the service offers unlimited options. As of yet there are no spring trips planned for this year; however, there are numerous summer and semester-long programs. The International Partnership for Service Learning claims that students who participate in its curriculum, which combines education and service, will not just learn about the world’s problems, but be a part of the solutions. Cost varies depending on the university, country and length of stay. For more information visit www.ipsl.org.

Students with financial or parental constraints should not feel left out of the service trend. No matter where you go for Spring Break, there is always an opportunity to make a difference.

“I really like to help people,” said Beth Mayberry, a social work major. “A couple days isn’t a sacrifice, it’s an incentive.”

Community service is no longer for the geeks and overachievers — it is for everyone. Many students across the country are finding that these so called “service breaks” are fun, engaging, and a way for them to disband stereotypes about today’s average young adult.
Student helps build home
Courtesy of University Ministrie
One student helps build a home during last year’s first Habitat for Humanity Spring Break trip in Americus, Ga.
 
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