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Spring break provides opportunity for students to make a difference

While November just started and snow threatens the area, Drake’s alternative spring break trips have been chosen.

These week-long projects are in many locations. Previous trips have been in Mississippi, New Mexico and Kentucky. They’re based on service learning but allow for free time.

Senior Robin Sautter, co-president of Habitat for Humanity, said her favorite part of the New Mexico trip was hiking with friends after working on an adobe house.

Tasha Stiger, director of campus programming, said there were similar outings at Kentucky, like dessert nights and bluegrass concerts.

Now, there are three trips.

One is in Alamosa, Colo. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, it is home to a sacred Navajo mountain and 320 sunny days a year.

Natalie Smith, the trip advisor, is from the area and added that it has strong Spanish influences and “green chilis put on everything.” This is one of the nation’s poorest regions. The trip is dedicated to building low-energy houses. Though the trip is through Habitat for Humanity, you’re not required to be a member. The group will be taking eight students and a leader, and it costs $500 with a $75 deposit.

Each group has a leader who works with faculty on budgets, activities and fundraising. They receive a discount of $100 and have a specific application that is due Nov. 11, followed by an interview.

The Chicago trip needs a leader and is taking members of social fraternities and sororities. The group will include eight people and the leader. This trip has a $100 deposit and adds up to $625 total. This project is about fighting hunger and homelessness. Multiple services are available to work with. Also, there will be a tour of the National Headquarters of Sigma Chi and Alpha Phi International. Spare time will let students explore the city.

All trips allow for exploration, and the Chavies, Ky., trip offers classes on poverty, social justice and Appalachian history. It focuses on repairs like installing linoleum, shingles and handicapped ramps. The trip is $525 with a $110 deposit, and it will include a leader and between 8-10 people. While Stiger admits construction experience is a plus, she admits last year that her approach was “measure twice, cut once.”

This will be the second Appalachian trip. Both Stiger and junior Samantha Carlson went, and both agree it “really opens your eyes.” They said they loved the sense of community and new relationships. Carlson admitted that she still eats lunch with four of the members on the trip. There will be students from other schools at this project as there were on previous trips.

There is a general application for the trips. These are due to the Student Life Center on Dec. 2 and are fist come, first serve. Short answer questions are involved but Stiger said that “they’re not really tough.”

Each form requires a deposit, but the total cost includes transportation and meals. However, the costs do not count fundraisers, which could reduce costs. The next payment would be in January.

These forms are available in the Student Life Center. If you’re interested in more than one trip, you can check both boxes and discuss the options with a leader.

These forms are at the Student Life Center. If you’re interested in more than one trip, you can check both boxes and discuss the options with a leader.

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