Not your typical spring break

Story by Emily Albrent

While some students will lap in the sunshine and beaches of exotic locales, others will spend spring break on a service trip.

UW-Eau Claire’s program Alternative Spring Break  gives students a chance to help others over the week-long break, said coordinator of student leadership Katy Rand.

“It is a service-based immersion trip,” Rand said. “We work with organizations in Indianapolis with homelessness and poverty and just service leadership in general.”

According to the Alternative Spring Break website, the trip will return to Indianapolis for the third year in a row. It is limited to 20 students and will be from March 18-23. It costs $325, which includes lodging, travel, meals and activities. It is five days of assistance to organizations that need volunteers, one of which is Rebuilding the Wall.

Jakob Broesch, a senior who went on the trip last year, said that Rebuilding the Wall was a great experience.

“It does a similar thing like Habitat for Humanity,” Broesch said. “It helps people who are too poor for Habitat for Humanity.”

Not only will students have the chance to help out others in need, but Rand said students will earn 15 hours of service-learning. Rand said that this is an amazing way to
accomplish half of the required hours in  little under a week.

Sophomore Stephen Kahlow found the experience very rewarding.

“Every little thing we did, no matter how meaningless it seemed, had a big significance on the people’s lives in the area, which is one of the coolest parts,” Kahlow said.

The trip is not only a chance to give to others, but to also learn more about the people that are
involved in the program  and to make friends.

“We would stay up to two in the morning and play cards or have a bonfire and s’mores,” Kahlow said. “It is a busy couple of days, but it is a good use of a spring break.”

The trip is also a great opportunity to meet others that you may not normally meet at Eau Claire, Rand said.

“It caters to a lot of different majors and from freshmen to graduate students,” she said. “We’ve had a whole bunch of different populations from this campus that have gone on this experience.”

The trip also gives students a chance to grow more as an individual and to become a better leader.

“At the point that I went, I felt that I was pretty well developed in my leadership abilities, but this helped me to see a whole different view point on it,” Broesch said.

Rand said she hopes the Alternative Spring Break program will be expanding in the near future.