Spring break may seem like eons away in cold and frosty Ashland, but for Britney Depew, Environmental Coordinator and head of the Alternative Spring Break Program, the planning has already begun. The Alternative Spring Break Program is a volunteer effort where students devote their spring break to helping others, in a variety of settings and locations.
Depew says the goal of the program is for students to “help out communities, learn about themselves, and get to know each other.” Starting on March 22 and lasting for two weeks, students will depart on one of three volunteer opportunities either to Bend, Sacramento, or San Francisco.
Those departing for Bend will focus on LBGTQ and workers’ rights issues, those going to Sacramento will help build a community garden in a low-income neighborhood, and students traveling to San Francisco will partner with Head Start to work with young children.
“No prior knowledge or experience needed beforehand, just a willingness to contribute and learn,” says Depew.
Each year about thirty students sign up for the program, so it is also a great way for students to meet people they might never know otherwise. There will be a university staff member with every group, as well as a student leader who has already been on a volunteer trip. These knowledgeable students are an important part of the experience.
Applications can be found on the Civic Engagement link of the main SOU website, and it is a relatively quick and simple form. The trip costs $1,500, including food, lodging, and travel to the volunteer areas. More information can be found by emailing Britney Depew at firstname.lastname@example.org.