The Miami Report

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Students choose hammers and nails over sun and sails

Volunteering over spring break is no longer novel at many universities and a number of Miami students will choose service over leisure for their spring break this year, March 10-17.

Contrary to recent concerns about student selfishness, a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service says the number of college students volunteering rose about 20 percent from 2002 to 2005, more than twice the growth of all adult volunteers. Several Miami groups volunteered over winter break as well, including Habitat for Humanity trips in which students did roofing in Ft. Myers, Fla., and construction work in New Orleans.

“Service is an ideal way for students to discover gaps in their learning. By participating in alternative spring break, they learn more about themselves, about the societal conditions that hold others back, and most importantly they discover that taking charge of their own learning is deeply fulfilling,” says Dennis Roberts, associate vice president for student affairs at Miami and adviser to the office of student leadership, campus and community life.

Miami students will be at these sites this spring, among others:

• The Habitat for Humanity chapter is sending 11 students each to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Beaumont, Texas.

• Campus Crusade for Christ is taking any interested students to New Orleans to contribute to gutting houses, tutoring children and cleaning parks.

• Alternative Spring Break is taking more than 80 students on four trips: to the Gulf region (Lake Charles, La., and Hattiesburg, Miss.); to Miami, Okla., and to Tijuana, Mexico, to work with children, learn about U.S./Mexico border issues and build a house for a family in need.

Two faculty-student trips with Ambassadors for Children are going to Belize and El Salvador.

Students at other area universities also are involved. University of Cincinnati students, on break March 17-24, will participate in at least 10 Alternative Spring Break trips. At Xavier University in Cincinnati, 260 students will volunteer through its Alternative Breaks Club. Spring break, March 3-10, will find them building wheelchair ramps for United Cerebral Palsy in Nashville, Tenn., working with children at an HIV/AIDS camp in Minnesota and clearing the Everglades, among other projects.

Date Published: 03/08/2007
Volume: 26   Number: 16


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