Spring Break Without the Beer and Bikinis
8 Groups of Students Volunteer for Service Trips Under UT Dallas Program
March 7, 2008
For most college students, spring break is all about parties, sun and sand. But for eight groups from UT Dallas, this year’s adventures will include sweat, mentoring and manual labor.
Known as Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and scheduled for March 8-15, the UT Dallas students will take part in such volunteer missions as environmental restoration, medical and brain injury rehabilitation, disaster recovery and rebuilding, social services for the elderly and disabled, mentoring at-risk youth, feeding the homeless and working with Dallas area social service agencies.
Groups of six to 15 students will travel with University faculty and staff advisers to sites across the United States, some of them picking up academic elective credits for participating in ASB.
“I’m very proud of our students,” said Terry Hockenbrough, service learning coordinator for the University. “They give so much of themselves, and they are constantly looking for ways to get involved and take care of others.”
Alternative Spring Break trips for 2008 include:
- Hinds’ Feet Farm, Huntersville, N.C. Focus: Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Facility. The group will perform manual labor on 36 acres of farm land and do projects around the barn, including light construction. Volunteer participants also explore traumatic brain injury and the various rehabilitation therapies available to patients at the farm.
- Nehemiah’s Vision, Vidor, Texas. Focus: Hurricane Recovery and Rebuilding. Volunteer participants work with Nehemiah’s Vision to rebuild and repair homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Rita, with special emphasis on serving disadvantaged populations.
- New Orleans Habitat for Humanity, Baptist Crossroads Foundation Inc., New Orleans. Focus: Hurricane Recovery and Rebuilding. Volunteers will work with Habitat for Humanity to rebuild homes in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
- Dear Neighbor Ministries, Wichita, Kan. Focus: Social Services to Disadvantaged Populations. Volunteers will aid community needs like building wheelchair ramps, delivering Meals on Wheels, assisting with social services outreach and working on minor repairs and construction.
- Oklahoma State Parks System, Sequoyah Bay State Park. Focus: Environmental Restoration and Development of Nature Trails. Volunteers will work alongside rangers and environmentalists to clean up the park and assist with trail development.
- Communities In Schools, San Antonio. Focus: Creating a promotional media tool. Volunteers will assist Community In Schools in creating a promotional media tool documenting the needs of at-risk school age children and that will highlight the services provided by the organization. The group will also mentor at-risk youth.
- ASB Dallas Flex, Dallas. Focus: Working with area food banks, assisting with home repairs and gardens for the elderly and feeding the homeless in the Dallas area. This group will be anchored at UT Dallas for the week and all students still on campus are welcome to join them each day.
- ASB Living Learning Communities, Dallas. Focus: Working with local area food banks, feeding the homeless and assisting Central Dallas Ministries in outreach efforts.
Students from freshman to graduate levels apply to participate in ASB each fall and are chosen on a first-come, first-served basis. Their interests are matched with the trips available in a particular year. Student site leaders must then go through an interview process and attend a leadership retreat.
“I’m looking forward to my time in New Orleans this year,” said Ben Linke, a student site leader for the Habitat for Humanity trip and a sophomore pre-health major at the University. “I had the opportunity to participate in a similar trip last year, and I’m excited about joining other college students on the project this time around.”
ASB, which is part of the University’s Service Learning program, has been at UT Dallas since the late 1990s. Though it’s paid for through student fees, participating students are also asked to raise money for their travels each year.
Media Contact: Jenni Huffenberger, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4431, [email protected]