UT Students Take “Alternative Spring Break” to New Orleans

Published: Mar 3, 2008
A group of 15 University of Tampa students will travel to New Orleans next week for what is billed as an alternative to the “traditional” spring break.

The group, accompanied by a staff advisor, will work March 9-15 in cooperation with two nonprofit groups to assist with Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts as part of the annual “Alternative Spring Break” program.

Organized by the student group People Exploring Active Community Experience (PEACE), Alternative Spring Break is meant to engage students in charitable volunteer work as they take a break from their regular academic activities.

“It’s a way to get students to focus on giving back during that time,” said Carrie Collins, a PEACE coordinator.

Since 2001, the annual program has taken students to locations throughout the southeastern U.S. to participate in various volunteer projects. This year, students will work with the groups Rebuilding Together and Operation Nehemiah to help rebuild homes that were damaged or destroyed when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Last year’s group traveled to Meridian, MS, where they spent the week constructing new homes for residents who had relocated there after Katrina.

Students wanting to participate in Alternative Spring Break apply during the fall semester for one of the 15 available spots. An increased number of applications in recent years has led to talks of expanding the program to include multiple alternative break projects, Collins said.  

“We’ve had so many students interested in it that we’re talking about expanding the program,” Collins said. “We’re just really proud and very excited that students want to go and be a part of it.”

For more information on the Alternative Spring Break program, contact the PEACE Volunteer Center at (813) 253-6263 or e-mail peace@ut.edu