|Habitat for Humanity students have constructed houses in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.|
TOWSON, Md. (March 27, 2012)—While thousands of Towson University students flock to tropical destinations for a little rest and relaxation over spring break, others travel for a very different reason.
Several student organizations sponsor alternative break programs, through which participants travel around the country engaging in volunteer work.
“Service is one of our core commitments,” explains Ken Krivitzky, director of the Towson Hillel, whose student members traveled to Miami schools this break, mentoring young people.
“From the Jewish point of view, everyone should give back and help those in need. It’s a meaningful way to connect with students, teach them volunteerism, and learn about the different issues going on in our society.”
Carol Galladian, adviser to the TU chapter of Habitat for Humanity, agrees. The club has organized trips to build houses for communities in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.
“It’s a unique experience—a real win-win for the students, university and community. The lifestyle and economic challenges are different between Maryland and Florida. I think it’s eye-opening for the students to see the poverty issues occurring down there.”
Alternative Break Connections, a student organization at TU, hosts multiple trips throughout the year to several destinations.
“I think alternative breaks are a great experience because they bring students from all backgrounds together to give back to the community,” says Corinne DeRoberts, staff adviser to the group.
|Students of Hillel traveled to New Orleans last winter to volunteer with the Backyard Gardener's Network.|
Her organization sent teams of students to both Atlanta and Nashville this spring, where they volunteered for the International Rescue Committee, Books for Africa and the Global Soap Project, among other groups.
“You may not see these organizations or these needs here in Baltimore, but when you travel it broadens your horizons. When you return to Baltimore, you have a greater perspective of how you can help your own community.”
A six-time member of the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, Towson has always prioritized civic engagement both on and off campus.
"It shows the passion of our students that they are willing to spend their spring break to help others, making a difference in a community that doesn’t necessarily affect them directly," emphasizes Galladian.
DeRoberts agree. "By attending the alternative break, they’ll be able to move up the active citizen continuum to see they have the ability to give back and to change society."
And next year? "My goal is to have an international trip," DeRoberts says.