Lack of funds leads to innovative spring break trips

The Religious Life Community (RLC) is changing things up for the service trips that are offered during spring break.

Typically, the alternative spring break trips are chosen by RLC and students can sign up to go to different places for service opportunities.

This year, however, students get a hands-on opportunity in planning the spring break trips.

“We decided to change the format is because we want these trips to be more student-owned,” said Jorie Landers, senior and RLC intern of justice and mission. “This is a way students will feel more invested in their spring break experience. We’ve seen models of this work on other campuses and we felt like it would be great for such a service-minded campus like Simpson. This new format of spring breaks being planned by the participants themselves will hopefully give students a chance to get more out of their week of service.”

The original format of alternative spring break trips that were coordinated by the chapel intern of mission gave five options for trips. With the new system, the options are limitless.

“The beauty of the self-proposed and planned alternative spring break trips is that we can send out as many trips as are proposed,” said Hannah Landgraf, senior and chapel intern. “There will, of course, be a process of evaluating and looking over the applications, but whether we receive five, six, or 10 applicable proposals, we will work to send out that number of trips.”

Simpson College Chaplain Fritz Wehrenberg also hopes to send out 10 trips during spring break, rather than the standard five.

“This first year, we hope to send out 10 groups,” Wehrenberg said. “The application process is more about getting the process going and we might find that there are similarities in the application that we would try to combine. I would love to have 25 to 30 applications and then wrestle with how to raise the money for that many.”

Money, ultimately, is what put RLC in this position. The Lily Endowment lost funds this year as a part of the deficit in the budget.

“We are losing some funding from the Lily Program which has previously allowed students to take these amazing trips for a relatively cheap price,” Landgraf said. “By starting the spring break trip process earlier and getting groups formed around specific trips and issues, we allow time for students to prepare and fundraise for their trips.”

There are high hopes that the program will be successful, since the Lily Endowment will be completely gone after this year.

“Our main source of funding for the alternative break trips (the Lilly Endowment) will be gone after this year,” Landers said. “With that gone, we need students to be willing to raise their own funds for the trips in the future. We felt like this was the optimal year to begin something like this, as a sort of test run before we actually don’t have funding for the trips next year.”

Those interested in student-planned alternative spring break trips should fill out an application and return it to the chapel office by Oct. 19.

Questions should be directed to Landers.