RLC provides students with atypical spring break

by Blair BoydStaff Writer

Tanning on the beach, heading to the bars, partying until the wee hours of the morning and having no set agenda are the typical things that come to mind when thinking about spring break trips, but Religious Life Community has a different agenda. It’s one that will open students’ eyes to new experiences and give them a lot of time for reflection and growth.

This year, RLC is going on six different trips,: southern Mississippi; Chicago and Dubuque, Iowa; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; Pennsylvania; Las Vegas, New Mexico and Nuevo Progresso, Mexico. All trips consist of different activities not common for a typical spring break.

“We like to call them work and reflection trips,” said Angela Gafford Asmus, chaplain and director of RLC. “Some of them have an intentional mission while others are primarily for reflection.”

Some of these missions include hurricane relief work and clean-up, building a house for a deserving family and feeding the homeless. Other trips give students the opportunity to really analyze their lives. The trip to the Chicago and Dubuque monastery is one of them.

“Students are asked to think about how to bring elements of calmness back into their everyday lives,” Gafford Asmus said.

All of the trips allow participants to experience things difficult to experience in the rural Midwest.

“It’s getting out of your comfort zone,” Gafford Asmus said. “Being in a new place, you see a better representation of the world.”

Faculty and students are heading the trips and are looking forward to the experiences to come.

“Experiences like these can have a huge impact on personal and spiritual growth,” junior Courtney Swanson said. “It’s just a great way to meet new people.”

Other students participating enter the trips with open minds, not really knowing what to expect but knowing great things will come out of it.

“All community service trips that I’ve gone on, I’ve come back with a different outlook on life and my appreciation for it,” senior Nina Ward said. “They help me realize that I can always do more.”

Junior Sarah Burton is anticipating lasting relationships when returning from her hurricane relief work in Mississippi.

“I hope lasting bonds between the people of the Gulf Coast and the Simpson College students are what we come back with,” Burton said. “I have a feeling this trip will be more about rebuilding relationships and people.”

Service Hub VISTA Elizabeth Ehrig, who is accompanying Burton to Mississippi, is excited to interact with other college students to create a safe environment for them after the devastating hurricane.

“We’re working on a building called The Barn that will be used by students of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College,” Ehrig said. “Hurricane Katrina completely wiped out places where students spent their free time.”

Though all of the RLC spring break trips will require some sort of work and reflection, fun is not out of the question.

“There is always at least one day where we do something fun,” Gafford Asmus said.

Students know that this is the case as well.

“Every trip involves some type of having fun and doing a little sight-seeing,” Swanson said.

RLC gives students the opportunity to participate in a spring break full of acts of kindness, reflection and self-examination. Though not the stereotypical spring break, those who participate find it just as fun and rewarding.