Apr 222010
 
Authors: Rachel Childs

How much good can you do in a week?

You could save animals in New Orleans, build a restaurant in Panama or teach kids in Kenya.

Students tried their hands at each of these tasks this year as part of the school’s alternative break. The program, sponsored by Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement, gives students a chance to do community service all over the nation and globe during spring break, while their classmates go on vacation.

More than 100 students met Wednesday night in the North Ballroom of the Lory Student Center to reminisce over their experiences this past year and rejoice in the good that they did.

More than 15 trips were taken to places within the U.S. and internationally.

All of the young philanthropists looked back on their experiences fondly and hope to continue their hard work.

“This was the most epic trip of my life, “said senior watershed sciences major Christine King, who enjoyed her trip despite being stung by a jellyfish in Achiote, Panama.

The event was an Academy Award-style ceremony followed by scenic photos of students cajoling with locals and exploring the landscape.

Junior biomedical sciences major Jenni Sneden has been on four alternative breaks after seeing the event on flyers. This year she spent two weeks during the winter in a Samburu women’s community in Kenya learning about the culture.

“Mostly it was a cultural exchange, and we just got to meet a lot of cool people and learn about the community,” Sneden said.

Another group went to Washington D.C. to explore the issue of homelessness. The group volunteered with the National Coalition of the Homeless and other non-profit organizations.

This group spent 48 hours living among the large homeless community with no belongings. They went to hotels for food and money, a practice known as “busking.”

“I learned the importance of community for humanity and that when you’re stripped of all of your belongings you form bonds with humans because you create this network of dependence,” said senior political science major Nelly Pierson, who was on the D.C. trip.

Every group expressed awe at the amount they learned from working in a new country.

“I tried to not come back cynical,” Sneden said. “It gives me hope to think about all of these alt breakers and people who are willing to gain a new perspective and try something new. So I think there is a lot of potential here in the United States.”

_Anyone interested in alternative break can find more information at the SLiCE office.
Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at news@collegian.com._

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