Fall break trips provide time for relaxation, reflection

Some students won’t be returning home to visit their families during the upcoming fall break. Instead, they will be going on several trips to different cities across the country sponsored by the Lilly Initiative

According to Jim Hayes, assistant director of Lilly Initiative, the purpose of the trips is to establish a culture of vocation.

“We feel that if you go out into the community and explore, it will be [a good experience],” Hayes said.

Founded in 1937, the Lilly Initiative was created by the family of Eli Lilly, whose company is famous for its community service. According to a fact sheet provided by Hayes, “the endowment supports the causes of religion, education and community development.” The programs for the theological exploration of vocation, the area of the endowment which funded Simpson’s Lilly grant, has awarded similar grants to a total of 88 church-related liberal arts colleges.”

This year, the three fall break trips are all located in the Midwest. One trip, which was student-created, is to Chicago.

Bobby Nalean of AmeriCorps believes this trip will be a great experience.

“[It’s] giving students the opportunity to be immersed in the cultural experience of the inner city,” Nalean said

After arriving in Chicago, the group will not only be touring and sight-seeing on their trip, they also plan on working on a service project, serving the homeless in a soup kitchen in the inner city. While there, they also plan on swimming, boating, and playing games.

Another trip, organized by Hayes, had been planned to travel to the Lake of the Ozarks.Due to lack of participation, the trip was cancelled.

According to Hayes, the trip to the Ozarks was meant to be a time of relaxation and a time to relax and get away.

The third trip, to the Twin Cities, was organized by Wartburg.

“We were approached by Wartburg, who asked if we wanted to go on this service trip,” Hayes said. “We compete with each other so often, but they wanted to do something together. They’re working half and we’re working half. All we request is that they (students) reflect.”

Hayes said that reflection is one of the most important parts of these trips. Students must ask themselves three questions, “What?” “So What?” and “Now What?” and respond.

Additionally, Hayes randomly chooses three questions from a sheet of paper to ask students to answer in their reflections that they will turn in to Hayes.

Hayes said that most of the trips are student-organized and there are a few criteria for choosing them.

“It’s somewhere that can be fun, but drivable to within a day, because students don’t want to spend their entire Fall Break on a bus,” Hayes said.

In the past, Simpson has traveled to different areas of the country as part of Lilly-sponsored fall break trips. Recent trips include ones down to areas that have been devastated by the hurricanes, and a trip to Mexico.

Hayes believes that the fall break reflection trips are a wonderful idea.

“I find it refreshing and inspiring that students are organizing this,” Hayes said. “I also have a wonderful job in that I get to read all these reflection journals.”

Senior Benay Hicks, organizer of the Chicago trip, agreed with this statement.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to get out of Iowa and experience the different cultures around them,” she said.