Students, Staff Dedicate Spring Break to Serving Others, Social Issues
March 7, 2014
Students Jacky Lam, Zoey Nguyen and Sara Gamal participated in Alternative Spring Break last year. They volunteered at agencies that help the hungry and homeless in Washington, D.C.
Lorre Antoine hopes that volunteering with the World Hunger Relief farm near Waco will give her sustainable farming and community development skills that she can use on her church mission trips.
The administrative assistant for the Department of Mathematical Sciences at UT Dallas has signed on for one of 10 Alternative Spring Break projects this year, and will be a staff advisor for a team of six to 12 students.
Her team will stay in a home on the farm that is typically built by Habitat for Humanity for use in Nicaragua: it has no electricity and only an outdoor composting toilet.
Antoine expects the experience also will translate into a way for participants to eventually influence other students back on campus.
“I’m hoping that students will become more aware of food that is wasted and where our food comes from,” Antoine said. “Maybe we can impact others.”
The sustainability team members are among the 101 UT Dallas students and staff who will head out March 9-15 for Alternative Spring Break projects that include helping the homeless in San Francisco and disaster recovery in flood-affected areas of Denver.
Alternative Spring Break volunteer Luxi Li helped build affordable housing with Habitat for Humanity last year in Jackson, Miss.
The UT Dallas volunteers will perform community service, learn about social issues and develop leadership skills. The trips vary in terms of location, service project and lodging — which can range from church facilities to community centers to state park cabins.
Bogdan Bordieanu, a biochemistry sophomore from Romania and a McDermott Scholar, will volunteer with nonprofit agencies that help the homeless and the hungry in the San Francisco Bay Area.
It is his second time as an Alternative Spring Break volunteer; last year, Bordieanu tutored middle-schoolers in New York.
“After the trip last year, I decided I wanted to become more involved in volunteerism. It’s something everyone should try because it builds character and it changes your life,” Bordieanu said.
Monalisa Amidar, assistant director of the Office of Student Volunteerism, said the volunteers spend a lot of time learning about their team’s topic and the issues surrounding the community and agencies they’re serving.
Alternative Spring Break Projects
See a full list of the 10 projects UT Dallas students and staff will participate in next week.
“I just have tremendous respect and admiration for the students and staff who choose to devote their time and energy toward serving others,” Amidar said. “For me, the best part is seeing how much students learn, serve and grow together as a team and as individuals. I’m fortunate to be around world-changers.”
Thanks to support from the Student Fee Advisory Committee, participants pay a minimal fee for each trip, Amidar said. Students pay roughly $100 to $450, which covers transportation, lodging and meals for the week.