Editorial: Volunteer program urges students to make a difference

When the phrase “spring break” comes to students’ minds, several different images come to mind.

For many, the thought of debauchery in Miami or any other subtropical climate – fueled by sex and booze courtesy of whichever VJ is hot on MTV at the time – comes to mind.

For some, the phrase means a long road trip with friends or family, be it impulsive or planned.

For some, even lying on the couch watching reruns and gorging on junk food is enough of a vacation to get away from the stressful perils thrown at students throughout the semester.

But for a few, the phrase brings to mind the opportunity to travel with friends to a predetermined destination for the pleasure of helping others, sacrificing free time that could be had at home.

Alternative Spring Break, sponsored locally by the Newman Catholic Center Student Volunteer Center, is a chance for all students to volunteer themselves for the betterment of someone else’s life.

Doris Nordin, coordinator for the event, said the event gives a chance for people to give to others who don’t have the same opportunities as we might.

The event consists of several projects spanning all over North America, from Canada to Mexico.

At these sites, volunteers may work with children or in nursing homes, or may volunteer at Habitat for Humanity job sites, building and renovating houses for the less fortunate.

It’s the perfect chance to do real work for a real cause.

Nordin said the most rewarding part of Alternative Spring Break is the experience one may take away from the event.

It’s different to just talk about these sorts of events, but to actually participate and share the same experiences and troubles with the people you came to help is an extremely rewarding feeling, she said.

All the event asks of students is one week out of their lives to dedicate to those in need.

A relatively small fee of $150 is required to pay for transportation, accommodations, on-site meals and a T-shirt, although Nordin said students may receive a $25 rebate if they sign up before Feb. 1.

Alternative Spring Break is an excellent opportunity for students to get in touch with fellow human beings who weren’t given the same chances as the rest of us.

Rather than just talking about it and commending other students for participating, why not participate yourself?

If you want something rewarding out of Spring Break 2009, throw down a few dollars and help a good cause.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at: [email protected].