April 30 , 2009 Your Monthly Source of Community Service-Learning News VOL.6, NO. 7

CSU Students Opt for Alternative Spring Breaks

Fresno State students participating in a flood clean-up with Catholic Charities during spring break.Sonoma State JUMP students in Bernard Parish County assisting with Hurricane Katrina relief.Humboldt State students become familiar with Native American issues in Central Oregan during their alternative spring break experience.

Each year, more CSU students are opting for alternative spring breaks.  Campuses and organizations are offering creative programs to serve communities in need and students are seeing, first hand, how serving and learning can go hand-in-hand.

  • Seventeen Humboldt State students traveled to the central coast of Oregon to serve and learn from the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw, as well as the Winchester Bay and surrounding community.  Through many conversations with tribal members, the students became familiar with some of the issues facing Native American communities.  After traveling by traditional canoe to a site on tribal property, volunteers helped build a campsite and benches.  They also spent time at a campground removing invasive scotch broom from the forest area around the campground, tutored and mentored children at the local Boys and Girls Club afterschool program, gardened and painted a gazebo at Philip’s Park, the only park in the community, and helped move equipment while learning about salmon restoration in the local community. 
  • This spring, Fresno State piloted a new alternative spring break program serving four local nonprofit organizations working on issues surrounding poverty in the Central Valley.  The Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning along with USU Productions, co-sponsored nine students to serve with Catholic Charities, participating in flood clean-up (due to a disastrous flood in the organization’s thrift store), food bundling, rice inspection, and book sorting – all to benefit local families.  In addition to engaging in daily service projects, the students completed reflection activities and program evaluations to help establish a permanent program at Fresno State.
  • San Diego State students traveled throughout the world to help make a difference during their spring break.  A group of students from Global Brigades took a trip to Honduras to implement improvements to water quality, sanitation practices and infrastructure.  Another group of 48 students belonging to College Students of New Orleans traveled to New Orleans to rebuild homes for Hurricane Katrina survivors.  Two opportunities were offered by academic departments as part of general coursework.  The College of Health and Human Services offered a nine-day trip to La Gloria, Mexico, to work with underserved communities. the Department of Africana Studies offered a trip to South Africa to continue work with natives of the country, helping with AIDS projects, orphanages, and school and community programs.

  • Fifty CSU San Marcos and Universidad Autonoma de Baja California (UABC) students participated in the Hands Across Our Border trip to Casa Hogar Sion Orphanage in Tijuana, coordinated by the CSU San Marcos Office of Community Service Learning.  Students were given the opportunity to interact with the children at the orphanage and saw firsthand how the orphanage created a place of love and happiness for those who lived there. The children responded to the students warmly and were given a day to feel special and loved.  Full Story

  • Join Us Making Progress (JUMP) at Sonoma State just returned from an Alternative Spring Break in Louisiana.  There, 35 students and one staff member worked in St. Bernard Parish, a county east of New Orleans, where the damage was so extensive that all but two homes in the entire county were deemed unsalvageable.  The group worked on several houses, focusing their efforts on mold removal, flooring, and painting. The trip also included learning about Hurricane Katrina’s impact on the environment, social services and political issues.  Student leaders and staff led nightly reflections where participants began to connect the dots between the devastation they saw firsthand and the larger systematic issues caused in our society.
 
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