People often associate spring break with beaches and partying, but a group of students at Framingham State are using the week off to help out those in need through the Alternative Spring Break Program.
Three chaperones and 27 students will head to Louisiana on March 13 to help Habitat for Humanity build homes in St. Tammany West, about 45 minutes outside of New Orleans. “Everyone’s worked very hard to put this together, so we’re all really excited,” said Emily Bliss ‘11, one of the student leaders. “All the hard work will be worth it once we get down there.”
Bliss and fellow student leaders Kendra Sampson ‘12 and Stephen Supernor ‘12 participated in Alternative Spring Break in Washington D.C. last year. The three had such an inspirational experience that they decided to lead this year’s trip.
“It’s a feeling I’ve never felt before,” Sampson said of the trip to Washington D.C. “You gain a sense of community and better overall awareness for some of the things that go on outside our comfort zone in New England.”
The students have raised $23,000 for the trip between fundraising and a $770 fee each must pay.
The students will spend most of the week helping construct homes for less fortunate families. They will have one free day to travel into New Orleans.
“We’re going to take an educational tour of the city and focus on areas hit hard by Hurricane Katrina,” Bliss said. “That will allow everyone to see why we’re there and the difference we can make.”
This is the third year Framingham State has helped students organize a trip through Alternative Spring Break, according to staff coordinator Angel Seto.
The program has grown in popularity each year, to the point where an application process had to be implemented this year. “The application process was great, because it really demonstrated how all the students going are so committed to similar core values of service and community,” Supernor said.
Sampson highly recommends other students get involved with Alternative Spring Break.“It’s a life-changing experience,” she said. “It alters your morals and your values in a positive way. Everyone should do something like it.”