Spring break opens opportunities for service, travel, learning

Mar 11, 2013

When North Central College takes its weeklong break between winter and spring terms, some 70 students plus faculty and staff members will leave campus and travel nationwide on nine different service and academic trips. In addition, the men’s baseball and women’s softball teams head south for competition.

Among the construction service trips are five Habitat for Humanity trips. The Office of Ministry and Service is coordinating three trips to Alabama, Michigan and Tennessee, and student-athletes have organized two trips to South Carolina and Florida.

Members of the football team are returning to Charleston, S.C., for the fifth year, wanting to “make a lasting contribution to a specific area,” says Gary Ireland, staff advisor on the trip and director of student development and assistant dean. Student-athletes from soccer, track and field, tennis and cross country teams are heading to Bunnell, Fla., to work with Habitat as well. This all-athletics trip is organized by soccer player Mackenzie Wenger ’14.

Another construction crew is headed to Texas along the Mexican border to build homes in low-income communities called colonias, in partnership with a local nonprofit, Proyecto Azteca. This trip is coordinated by the College’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Students are also using their spring break to respond to a needy area of the country. A group will head to New York City to help with Hurricane Sandy relief. They’ll be part of a coordinated volunteer effort by an Alternative Spring Break program at Wagner College, a fellow New American Colleges & Universities (NAC&U) school with North Central. Students will help refurbish damaged homes and install new furnishings in stricken areas.

Also along the Eastern United States will be another North Central student group, serving on a ministry trip in urban Washington, D.C. Students will stay in the community and experience urban life while serving in local outreach programs.

For the second year, several students will travel to northeast Arizona to work among the Hopi Native American people. The students and a faculty member are involved with the academic club Enactus, which develops projects to educate people in the community and in global markets about entrepreneurship, among other things. The team will work with the Hopi people on strategies for distributing their handmade goods and establishing bases for future service learning trips to the tribe’s reservation.

Two Cardinal athletic teams will travel to warmer climates to train for spring term competition. The women’s softball team is set to play 10 games in Fort Myers, FL. The men’s baseball team will play six games against teams in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.