Students plan spring break trips to learn, serve
Spring break is a time for students to relax, hang out with friends or take a trip to the beach.
It's also a time for students to continue their education and serve other people in the process.
A number of departments and student affiliated groups are planning trips to other states and countries to do just those things.
The trips help students prepare for a global economy by learning more about the world around them, said Michael Mardis, UofL's dean of students.
"It's a real learning opportunity," said Mardis, who is accompanying the International Service Learning Program to Belize next week. "For many students, this can be a life-changing experience."
Many of the students going on spring break trips will apply skills they learned in the classroom or with other campus activities to their new environments.
Some of this year's spring break trips include:
- About 35 students, faculty and staff will travel to Belize March 11 as part of the International Service Learning Program. The group split into four smaller units to represent different disciplines - dentistry, nursing, justice administration and communication. The group will complete such projects as setting up a dental clinic, going into homes to talk to parents about preventative medicine and working with students in area schools.
- A group of students is heading to East St. Louis to work with Catholic Actions programs. Service projects include working at schools, family care centers, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and St. Louis inner-city programs. The Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership and Service sponsors the trip.
- For the fourth year, students will head to the Black Mountain Community Garden in Black Mountain, NC. Students will work in the garden and will help prepare "The Welcome Table" community weekly meals, among other activities. The Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership and Service sponsors the trip.
- Several students also will head to Washington, DC to learn to engage in difficult conversations on controversial topics. While there, they will visit such sites as the Holocaust Memorial and the Newseum. The Office of Civic Engagement, Leadership and Service sponsors the trip.
- The Interfaith Center Ministries are sponsoring two Alternative Spring break trips. About seven students will work with Christian Appalachian Project in Flat Gap, Ky. to build and repair homes. Another 15 students, five staff members and a few volunteers also will go to northwest Indiana to help reopen a local emergency shelter and work in food pantries with Metro United Way.
- Baptist Campus Ministries is sponsoring a trip to Panama City Beach. About 21 students on the trip will be offering free pancake breakfasts and van rides to spring breakers.
- Campus Crusade for Christ also is taking about 22 students to Atlanta for spring break. The group will minister to homeless and inner city youth.
- The men's soccer team is going to Brazil to compete in soccer games and to work with an EDGE outreach water purification team to teach residents in northern Brazil how to install systems to provide clean water to their communities.
- Mechanical engineering professor Keith Sharp and four students will travel to the Zacapa region of Guatemala. Their group – Engineers without Borders – will work to improve the water supply system for the Hearts in Motion facility, which provides care and medical treatment in the region.