While Winter Break is fast approaching, it’s not too soon to start thinking about spring break plans here at ‘Berg.
Students, along with the Student Life Office, have jointly been working to organize and plan for this year’s Alternative Spring Break.
This year students will be going to Huntsville, Alabama, Washington DC, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Last year there were four trips to Louisiana, Alabama, New Jersey, and DC.
45 applications were submitted to fill a total of 30 spots. Currently group leaders are looking through the applications to build three teams. Group leaders are student organizers who, along with constructing a team, share the responsibility of effectively running their specific trip.
In years past Callista Isabelle, the College Chaplain, has been the staff member in charge of overseeing the trips. However this year, because of Callista’s imminent departure, Ellen Lentine, from the Student Life Office, will now be charged with fulfilling the role.
The groups do receive support from the Student Life Office, both when planning the trip and by providing a modest financial contribution; which derives from the student activities fee. However, the students are expected to carry out the majority of the work for organizing and executing the trips.
It is important to note that all of the trips are organized on an individual basis.
The Huntsville trip is organized through the Habitat for Humanity group on campus. Slightly similarly, students have also previously gone to New Orleans and have an established reputation with an organization down there. Conversely, the trip to Houston in particular is one of note as this was organized purely on student initiative.
It was an amazing feeling, knowing that we were molding a strong foundation for those who needed it. Although we were only working on one house, I felt like I was doing more than just helping a single family.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, this year three students reached out to local organizations to set up the trip this spring. All of these trips have been proposed by students and approved by a service committee.
Ellen Lentine hopes to continue to expand on the annual Spring Break trips in the coming years by continuing to add new trips and even include international destinations. She also said that she hopes the Student Life Center will be able to support and encourage additional service excursions over winter break and throughout the semester.
Overall, the Alternative Spring Break Program has a history of offering meaningful experiences for Muhlenberg students. As described by group leader and trip veteran Julia Termine ‘20; “It was an amazing feeling, knowing that we were molding a strong foundation for those who needed it. Although we were only working on one house, I felt like I was doing more than just helping a single family.”
“I had the opportunity to bond with individuals [who were a part] of Muhlenberg’s student body who were passionate about helping and engaging in community service — our bond is still close and unique,” Termine added.