Some students choose community service over traditional break

Payton Edmiston works with Alternative Break Board last fall in an effort to provide relief to victims of last April’s tornadoes. Several students are opting for a less traditional spring break in order to give back and serve their communities locally and abroad.

The traditional spring break beach vacation is not the only option for college students. With plans for the upcoming spring break at the end of March, some UNA students are changing the stereotypical idea that the beach is the only option.

Freshman communications major Samantha Hammond said she plans to use her spring break as a much-needed break from classes, but also to give back. She is going with The Well as a part of Highland Baptist Church on a trip called “Road Rules.”

“We are given a list of things we need, and then we get on a bus having no idea where we will be going,” Hammond said. “We do domestic mission work throughout the week. We could be working at a children’s home one day and helping with Habitat for Humanity the next.”

Hammond said she wanted to use her spring break to get away from her everyday routine and rest her mind. She wanted to get involved in something bigger than herself, though, which is why she chose to spend her break doing community service.

“I really expect just to experience the joy of selfless giving and really see how God will use me,” Hammond said. “I decided to go on the trip because I really thought it would be a great opportunity to serve and to have an unexpected spring break.”

Junior interdisciplinary studies major David Johnson said he also plans to use his break to engage in community service. He said students would get more out of helping others than with the traditional spring break experience.

“I have done the traditional spring break vacation,” Johnson said. “It’s good, especially for students to take a break from classes and re-energize, but it is not going to hurt anyone to give up that beach trip and make an impact on someone that can change their life.”

Johnson is going to the Dominican Republic with UNA’s Alternative Break Board. Johnson and others to teach English and literacy to orphans through Outreach 360.

“I feel like I have been given a lot of opportunities in my life, and I’d like to give back and share those opportunities with these kids who need positive influences in their lives,” he said.

Other options for spring break include looking ahead to the future. Senior Elizabeth Nichols, a professional biology major, said she plans to use her spring break to hopefully solidify her plans for the next few years.

“I am going to Auburn,” Nichols said. “I am going to meet with the coordinator of veterinarian school admissions to make sure I am ready to apply. I am also going to study for the GRE.”

For other students, though, the traditional vacation route is still preferable. Senior professional biology major Morgan Turner is going to celebrate her 21st birthday with her family in Chattanooga.

“Spring break means a chance to catch up on all the things I’ve put aside all semester,” Turner said. “I am going to celebrate my birthday and go watch ‘The Hunger Games.’ We are going to the aquarium in Chattanooga.”

Freshman biology major Bianca Cooper is also going on vacation to relax with her family.

“I am going to Virginia Beach, and I am going to have fun,” Cooper said. “It is a family vacation. My boyfriend works at the Pentagon, and I am going to visit him with my family.”