While college students from across the country were darting off to tropical locales for a week of soaking up rays and killing a few brain cells, 10 WCU students decided to take the road less traveled for spring break. They worked hard, pooled together a few thousand dollars, and headed down to Florida. Actually, that doesn’t sound unique at all. But what indeed their whole spring break – to the cause of helping others.
Joined by three WCU alumni and similar groups from Wittenberg College and Truman State University, the 10 students participated in Habitat for Humanity’s “Collegiate Challenge” alternative spring break program in Dade City, Florida.
Various fundraising events and donations allowed WCU’s Habitat chapter to come up with more than $3,300 to cover International.
The students performed a wide variety of tasks, such as mounting vinyl siding, roofing, trench-digging, painting, plumbing, sanding, and performing concrete work, according to Bill George, vice president of the WCU chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
Spending one’s spring break doing grueling physical labor may not sound like an enticing proposition, but the participants maintain that the joy of helping and wet T-shirt contests. “The relationships that were formed between the volunteers and future homeowners, whose lives will be changed for the better, will leave a permanent mark on all of us,” said chapter president Jolene Cramer, a junior in the School of Business and Public Affairs.
The concept of “alternative spring break” isn’t exactly new. According to WCU’s Habitat chapter, more than 10,000 high school and college students spring break programs run by other charitable organizations have been increasing in popularity over the last few years, says College of Arts and Sciences sophomore John Breon.
According to the Web site alternativebreaks.org, over 30,000 students participated in some form of alternative spring break experience, which they define as a program with a strong community service component.
distinguishes this group from the norm is the fact that they gave their sweat, muscle – a 15-passenger van, gas, and a donation to the East Pasco, Fl. affiliate of Habitat for Humanity others accomplish something positive more than compensates for missing out on sunburn participated in the Collegiate Challenge program in 2003, raising over $1 million. Similar The trend is not just limited to students. The Habitat members were joined by the “RV Care-A-Vanners” program, which was conceived in 1989 as a way for retired persons and owners of recreational vehicles to assist in Habitat efforts. The Care-A-Vanners spend weeks – even months – each year building houses throughout the country and occasionally in Canada and Mexico.
The WCU Habitat chapter plans to keep up its efforts to promote homeownership. Plans are already in the works for the 2005 trip, and the organization has upcoming fundraising events at Westminster Presbyterian Church and United Methodist Church. Representatives from the chapter also participated in the annual “Habifest” celebration March 31.
For more information about Habitat for Humanity visit their Web site at: www.habitat.org