Oct 122009
Authors: Katelyn McNamara

When students hear the term “spring break” many think about tropical getaways or the old party adage: “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” But annually, more than 150 CSU students embark on a different type of adventure.

The Student Leadership, Involvement and Community Engagement office’s Alternative Spring Break trips provide students with opportunities to get involved with a variety of social and environmental issues. These trips take place during winter, spring and summer breaks and range in distance from as close as Utah to as far away as Kenya.

This year, SLiCE is offering 13 different locations for travel and volunteerism —- the largest number in the history of the program.

According to its Web site, SLiCE is seeking about 160 students who have a real interest in volunteering. It will hold informational meetings at 7 p.m. today in room 228 of the Lory Student Center and at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in LSC room 224-226.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 21.

Sam Bowersox-Daly, coordinator for Alternative Break, said these trips allow students to travel and volunteer with other CSU students with similar interests. While gaining knowledge that they may not have had otherwise, students who have taken part in Alternative Break trips consider this to be “a life changing experience.”

Senior political science major Melisa Panagakos traveled to San Juan, Texas during her sophomore year as part of Alternative Spring Break. While on the border, Panagakos and her group studied migrant issues and built sustainable houses with a non-profit organization to help migrant workers in that area.

“It was completely life changing,” Panagakos said. “It shaped my passion for immigration issues.” She said she is now applying to law school in hopes of being an immigration attorney.

“If you’re not really sure where your passions lie, it’s a great way to help identify that.”

Bowersox-Daly has been on three trips himself since his freshman year at CSU.

“As a freshman, I wanted to get myself out there . put myself out of my comfort zone I guess you could say.”

Bowersox-Daly went on the Washington, D.C. Alternative Spring Break trip his freshman year, where he and his group focused on homelessness.

“It’s crazy to think that a city with so much wealth and power also has the country’s largest shelter,” he said.

“You will return to Colorado and CSU as a changed person,” Bowersox-Daly said, adding that, “No matter what interest area you have, there’s an alternative break for that.”

Katelyn McNamara can be reached at news@collegian.com.

2010 Alternative Spring Break Locations

Achiote, Panama: CEASPA, environmental issues and ecotourism

Catalina, California: Catalina Island Camps, environmental issues

Independence, Californial: Manzanar National Historical Site preservation

Kissimmee, Florida: Give Kids the World, children with terminal illnesses

Kanab, Utah: Best Friends Animal Society, animal welfare

Maryville, Tennessee: Once Upon a Time, Cherokee Nation and environmental issues

Moab, Utah: Plateau Restoration

New Orleans, Louisiana: St. Bernard Project, disaster relief

New Orleans, Louisiana: Animal Rescue New Orleans, animal welfare

New York City, New York: Gay Men’s Health Crisis, HIV/AIDS

Shiprock, New Mexico: Little Shop of Physics and Various Navajo Schools, science education

Tucson, Arizona: Humane Borders, immigration issues

Washington, D.C.: Community for Creative Nonviolence, homelessness and surrounding issues

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