Alternative Breaks Spring Students Into Service

Published: Nov 24, 2009
From working with hurricane victims in Mississippi to engaging in environmental preservation projects in Oregon, University of Tampa students have spent their vacations in service to others.

Over the Thanksgiving break, organizers of the alternative spring break trips are hoping students commit to the trips planned for this coming March.

“It’s so cool to see there is a need for this and that students are interested,” said Hannah Duprey '10, head alternative break coordinator and one of the head coordinators of the PEACE Volunteer Center. “If given the opportunity, they will respond.”

One trip is to Key West to work with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, kayaking along remote shorelines cleaning up litter and debris. The second option is a trip to Franklin, TN, to the Kindred Spirits Therapeutic Riding Center, a nonprofit organization that helps special needs, terminally ill and battered children through horse interaction. Students will spend the week helping with farm maintenance as well as assisting equestrian therapy leaders.

Applications for both trips are due to the PEACE center by Nov. 29 at 11:45 p.m. The cost for each is $175 and includes transportation, housing, food and a T-shirt.

“We’re looking for anyone who has an interest in making a difference and really wants to be there,” said Duprey. “They must be flexible, have a positive attitude and be hard working.”

The trips are planned and led by two students who have been trained as alternative break coordinators plus a faculty or staff member. For Duprey, who went on her first alternative break in 2007 to New Orleans, the opportunity to interact with a different community and explore a different city is a rich experience.

While she painted the home of an elderly woman who lost most of her belongings in Hurricane Katrina, people driving by the house rolled down their windows, thanking the students for their compassion.

“It was eye-opening and was one of my most vivid memories,” Duprey said. “UT is such a bubble. Any college is. It’s easy to get sucked into your own life… Everyone who goes on the alternative breaks says it is one of the best decisions they ever made. Once you’re back and have time to think, what you did becomes so much more important and meaningful.”

For more information on the alternative breaks, call the PEACE center at (813) 253-6263, e-mail alternativebreaks@ut.edu or click here for the Kindred Spirits trip and here for the Key West trip.


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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