Students excited for spring break experiences

by Katie Buchholz

While many students use their week-long March vacation to relax, others use the opportunity to travel across the states and dedicate their time to volunteer work through Religious Life Community’s (RLC) alternative spring break.

“I wanted to go somewhere for spring break, but I didn’t have a huge budget to do it, so I figured why not go to New York with RLC’s alternative spring break,” junior Annie Olson said.

The alternative spring break offers a variety of trips for the week-long event. This year students are traveling to New York, New Hampshire, Georgia, New Mexico, Canada, New Orleans and Texas.

All the trips are student proposed.

“Students either know of different places that need help and know some organizations that work there, and then they write a proposal to RLC,” senior and co-leader of the New Orleans trip, Kayla Ferguson said. “RLC goes through those and approves the trips to make sure they are doable.”

Each group raises money towards their trip. The group going to Georgia cleaned up the Wells Fargo Center after an event and the New Orleans group wrote letters to family members in different churches to raise enough money for their trip.

For many students this is their first time taking advantage of the alternative spring break.

“I wanted to look at other places to do service than just my usual places,” said Olson. I want to gain knowledge about traveling with a group of people and do something to impact New York. It’s such a big city, but to know that I could make a difference, that’d be really cool.”

First timer senior Susan Leslie is attending the New Orleans trip. She is most excited about volunteering with Katreena. Katreena is a volunteer organization that plants trees around New Orleans.

“We’ll be outside planting and hiking around,” said Leslie. “Since I’ve never been to New Orleans, it will be a great way to view the city!”

With RLC’s alternative spring break, students are able to meet other volunteers and gain new experiences in different areas.

“Whenever I volunteer at different places, there are always new skills that come with it and new friendships,” said Ferguson. “I think it’s a really cool way to see different places and get involved. Nourish that passion for helping others. Realizing how important and how much it can change someone’s life. It’s cheap and you get to go somewhere for spring break!”

Students will be staying overnight in churches or some hostel areas.

“I did one (spring break trip) to Vancouver when I was in high school like this and still keep in contact with people I met there,” said Ferguson.

Olson’s trip to New York is staying two nights in Pennsylvania while doing service work. They are also taking a train to New Jersey to help with Hurricane Sandy relief.

“I’m really excited to go and do service in places where I’ve never done service before,” said Olson.

Each trip will be traveling in vans.

“The drives might discourage some people because they are kind of long, but it’s worth it,” said Ferguson.

This is Ferguson’s second time participating in RLC’s alternative spring break in her four years at Simpson. To get the most out of her experience, her group is eating at different cultural restaurants every night in New Orleans. On the trip, she is also looking forward to getting to know her group better.

“I’m excited to work with different organizations, see a new city and meet different people,” said Ferguson. “The group I’m going with is a group of people I don’t usually hang out with, so it will be cool getting to know them better and have new experiences together.”

Each trip is leaving this Saturday and will arrive back on campus a week later.

“I think it will be an extremely rewarding experience,” said Leslie.