The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Spring service starts soon

Alternative Spring Break makes strides with Mustangs help

While many long days and sleepless nights of hitting the bookscan take their toll on a college student, hitting the beaches ofPuerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and South Padre Island provide awelcome escape each spring for many at SMU.

Some, however, choose to forgo the sunny shores and copiouscoasts of popular hot spots in lieu of service, support and thesmiling faces of those in need.

According to SMU’s Web site, “Alternative SpringBreak” is a week-long service project that allows groups of10 to 15 SMU students to help various communitiesnationwide.”

For over 10 years, a group of Mustangs has traveled the nationeach March helping the AIDS population in Philadelphia, victims ofdomestic violence in New Mexico and the homeless in SanFrancisco.

Last year alone, nearly 50 students chose to spend their weekaway from the classroom in six different cities assisting thoseneglected by much of society. While introducing participants topeople and places with which they may have never come in contactwith, the program offers other benefits.

Alternative Spring Break “lets faculty and staff interactwith students in a different way,” said Dr. Carol Clyde,director of leadership and community involvement. Dr. Clyde alsoserves as a faculty advisor for the annual program.

“Any student who has participated,” she said,”came back raving that it was a life-changingexperience.”

Started in 1991 at Vanderbilt University, Alternative SpringBreak (or ASB) is supported at SMU by SPARC (Students PromotingAwareness, Responsibility and Citizenship). According to SPARCPresident Austin Follett, those returning from the trips tend tobecome more immersed in campus life.

“ASB serves as a catalyst for campus involvement,”he said.

In addition to these invaluable advantages, ASB also”helps teach students how to work with others to achieve agoal [and] creates unique relationships that are based on genuine,interesting experiences that only a week of service and travelingon a budget can foster,” according to the Web site.

In recent years, the community service opportunities offeredhave varied from planting in Florida, cooking in Colorado, buildingin Oklahoma, to teaching in Louisiana.

For Dr. Clyde, the experience is one that nobody should miss outon.

“I would hate for any student who wants to go not get achance,” she said.

For more information, contact ASB Chair Hillary Cliff at (214)783-4489 or [email protected].

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