Lend a hand during spring break

The weather isn’t exactly warming up, but sunny days are on everyone’s mind. And although the semester’s still fresh, spring break is just around the corner. So in between writing papers and studying, it’s just about that time to get your spring plans rolling.

While many college students hope to go somewhere where there’s always an umbrella in their cup and an ocean breeze, there’s so many other spring break options.

A great opportunity for students is an alternative spring break. Alternative Spring Break Connections is a program that provides service learning trips for students. ABC gives students the chance to do some traveling but also help communities with specific projects.

Towson University’s ABC has traveled all over the country from Texas, Miami, to South Dakota. This past winter break students traveled to Boquete, Panama and participant Jessica Calle said it was an unforgettable experience.

“I had a great experience there,” she said. “Some moments really inspired me and made me think about life.”

Abigail Campbell, president of Towson’s Alternative Spring Break Connections went to Galveston, Texas in 2009. Her days were jammed packed, but her time in Texas was memorable and impactful.

“The trip was amazing, I did everything from organizing someone’s attic to pulling trash out of a swamp,” she said. “The experience I had was life changing, at the beginning of the week we started working on rebuilding a house and by the end of the week we had it completely painted, which was awesome to see.”

This spring, students have the option of going to New Orleans, Detroit and North Carolina.

Another interesting opportunity is through Towson’s Hillel and the Center for Student Diversity. Connecting Communities is a trip that gives students the chance to learn how Jewish and African American communities worked together during the civil rights movement. The trip starts in Birmingham then students will travel by bus to Atlanta.

Encountour is another organization that helps students plan service learning trips. Students are exposed to new cultures and do what they call, Naked Travel. Encountour’s Naked Travel gives volunteers a chance to learn about these new places and cultures without barriers to see what’s really going on.

There’s so many places that you can travel to and help, but there’s also many options right in your neighborhood. If you’re looking to make a difference, big or small, be sure to check out your campus community contact.

If you’re interested in becoming involved in a service activity and want to learn more about civic engagement, the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Conference: Journeys Through Service: Passport to Change is a great place to network and get cool ideas.

So let’s hope the groundhog was right and spring weather comes soon, but in the meantime warm up with visions of new adventures and explorations.

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