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Alternative Spring Break Trips Allow Students to Give Back During Spring Break

Posted Feb. 21, 2011

While many college students spend spring break lying on the beach in Florida or working hard at jobs in Kent, other students take the week away from classes to volunteer.

special feature Alternative spring break 2

The theory behind Kent State University’s alternative spring break trips is to provide students with the opportunity to spend a week in a different city working on a variety of community service projects with other students.

“It’s an opportunity to learn a lot, not only about the issues we’re working with, but also about the areas we go to and the people we work with,” says Amber Colello, graduate assistant in the Office of Community Service, Learning and Volunteerism.

This year, Kent State is offering trips to Buffalo, New York; Columbiana County, Ohio; Cleveland, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. While the D.C. and Chicago trips are already full, the remaining three locations have spots available until the registration deadline of Tuesday, March 1.

Senior educational studies major Alexander Mott is one of the Chicago trip leaders. He’s a Chicago native and has been volunteering since he was in middle school.

“The best part of an alternative spring break trip is meeting new people,” Mott says. “You also get an educational view of why one person can make such a difference.”

Each location offers students different volunteer experiences.

Buffalo will focus on Habitat for Humanity and a cultural exchange with Native Americans in the area. Students will even get to sit in on a pow-wow.

The Columbiana County trip lets students stay close to home while working out of Kent State University at East Liverpool. Main projects involve building playgrounds and improving local parks.

Cleveland volunteers will spend the week at the Catholic Worker House on the city’s west side and work with local social service agencies.

The sold out trip to Chicago focuses on a variety of community organizations, from youth empowerment to homeless outreach programs. The D.C. trip, which is also full, will feature work with a women’s shelter, homeless shelter, environmental project and an HIV/AIDS program.

Senior psychology and premed major Taiwo Adesina is going on the Washington, D.C. trip for her second year in a row. This year she’ll be a student leader.

“I learned a lot about social issues and had an opportunity to work with agencies that do their best to address some of those issues,” Adesina says.

She agreed with Mott and said that meeting new people is one of the best parts of going on an alternative spring break trip.

“Everyone bought something unique to the table and we learned so much from one another,” Adesina said.

To learn more about registering for an alternative spring break trip, visit

For additional information, contact Ann Gosky at

By Carrie Drummond