Students Swap Swimsuits for Service
As spring break quickly approaches, a growing number of Kent State University students are choosing alternative ways to spend their time off. Instead of indulging in the sun soaked beaches far, far away from northeast Ohio, some students will be rebuilding homes, reaching out to refugees, and helping to feed the homeless all around the country.
"They are really dedicating their spring break to learning about social inequalities and the structures of poverty, racism, hunger and homelessness," said Amanda Paulus, director of Kent State’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement, which organizes trips. "We are really trying to listen to students and cater to what issues are important to them."
Through Kent State’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement, students interested in the trips can choose from six different cities this year within the United States.
The goal is to give students real world experiences that go beyond textbooks, lectures and the walls of a traditional classroom and to expose students to social justice and cultural issues through direct service, community visits, reflection, and a variety of cultural activities. The trips give students the opportunity to engage in service as well as to inform them about current social issues and encourage their on-going involvement in social change.
Alternative Spring Break runs March 25 – April 2, 2017. The trips run between three to seven nights and cost between $130 - $725. Locations include:
- New Orleans, LA – assists the St. Bernard Project in making a direct impact on the people affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2006 and other recent natural disasters.
- Buffalo, NY – engages participants in a variety of cultures, including refugees and local Native Americans to help break down barriers and build relationships.
- Detroit, MI – assists a Detroit-based agency provide food, housing services and job programs to individuals and families.
- New York, NY – deepens an understanding of feminism as both a theory and a practice by educating students on feminist work and activism.
- Washington, DC – explores hunger, homelessness, and systems of oppression that are prevalent in our Nation’s capital city.
- Youngstown, OH – participants work with the Ursuline Sisters to assist people from diverse cultures with programs directed at children, the poor, elderly, and those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Many of the excursions are currently full, but trips to New York City, Detroit and Youngstown are still available.