Kaitlyn Tambasco, Assistant News Editor
With spring break just days away, many students are looking forward to the time off. However, Utica College is offering an “alternative spring break.”
This is the first year Alternative Spring Break is being offered. Last semester, alternative fall break was offered.
Assistant Director of New Student Programs Lauryn Moore is the advisor of the Alternative Spring Break.
Moore said this year the group will be working with and volunteering for multiple local organizations.
“We are still working on details, but we’d like to offer two seperate service projects throughout the week,” Moore said. “So students will have a few days to relax and recharge over the break, but still dedicate some time helping others.”
Students who live on campus are able to remain in their residence hall rooms if they sign up and meals will be provided each day. The program will run from March 11-15.
“Our goal is to form an officially recognized club (Alternative Break Club or ABC) on campus to be able to be a part of Student Government Association, fundraise and plan an awesome trip somewhere outside of Utica to do cool community service projects,” Moore said. “For this year, because we’re so new, we’re staying local to help our community members.”
There is no limit to how many students can sign up. Moore said that faculty, staff and coaches are also welcome to join. Once the organization is in full swing, they plan to take on even bigger service projects.
“I think it’s important for UC students to value not only the college but the community in which we live and learn as well,” Moore said. “Community outreach is beneficial to not only the people we help but ourselves as well.
Area Coordinator Matthew Vincent was part of an alternative spring break with the College of Saint Rose the last two years. Both years, he chaperoned a group of 14-16 students in New Orleans. The group worked with Camp Restore and LowerNine.org to rebuild homes in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
“My first year, our main project was to sand, prime and paint the exterior of a house that was one block away from the Mississippi River,” Vincent said. “Last year, we were split into two groups and worked on two different houses with tasks ranging from painting, tiling a bathroom, putting up drywall and more.”
In between projects, the group had the privilege to speak with home owners and survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Vincent said that it is astonishing to believe that, almost 14 years later, the rebuilding process is still going on.
“I took my students on a tour of the city, so we were able to see where the levee broke and the Lower Ninth Ward began to flood, as well as the many houses that are still condemned and abandoned,” Vincent said. “Each night after dinner, we had reflections when we would discuss the topics of race, socioeconomic status and social justice issues.”
Vincent is the co-advisor to Alternative Spring Break at UC. Vincent said that his main goal is to get the word out to the campus community.
“To ask students to give up their spring break to serve others is a tall order, but it is incredibly rewarding,” Vincent said. “This year will be a small scale Alternative Spring Break in which we serve the local community, but I hope in the future we are able to put together a program where we are able to travel to provide students an experience with different communities.”
The initial planning of the trip was started after Lauryn Moore planned a successful Alternative Fall Break.
“After that, Lauryn and I were invited to speak at the Dean of Students Advisory Committee,” Vincent said. “The students in attendance seemed to be receptive to the idea of an alternative spring break, and we have been working to find opportunities in the Utica community to connect our group with.”
Those interested in signing up for the Alternative Spring Break or joining the ABC can email Lauryn Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop into Strebel 206.