Students Reinvent Spring Break

Kyle Quinn-Quesada

WEST HAVEN–While many college students around the nation use the infamous Spring Break to travel to Mexico, California or Florida to find a more exotic location to get intoxicated at, there was a select few who decided to stay home and volunteer in their community this Spring Break.

The Alternative Spring Break which has been offered for six years now is the brainchild of associate professor and Campus Minister, Marty O’Connor, as well as the Dean of Students, Becky Johnson. Together with Amanda Luntz, UNH’s Community Service Coordinator, they have crafted a vital, sought-after program here at the University of New Haven.  
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The program’s goal is to, “[give] a great opportunity for students to volunteer during their spring break and to give back to the surrounding community. Students spend the week working as a group on a service project and volunteering their time. The program is a wonderful way for students to meet other people, develop their leadership and team building skills, and to volunteer their time and talents while benefiting a good cause,” says the bio.

This year’s group of approximately 20 incredibly diverse freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, with an assortment of majors, ranging from Interior Design to Forensic Science joined together to make an impact on their local New Haven community. Students were split into three separate groups. One group spent the week working with Habitat for Humanity, doing physical work like clearing brush and sweeping leaves before moving on to tiling the floor of a new house that an eager family is waiting to move in to. The second group spent its week working at the Connecticut children’s museum, where it helped organize books, clean and work with the children in the after-care program. The last group of UNH students worked with C.C.A. or Christian Community Action to help make ready temporary housing for families who have had their homes foreclosed on. This involved painting, cleaning and general maintenance of the building site.

The Alternative Spring Break program here at the University of New Haven is a staple volunteer program and is vital to the university. With the current economic recession in full swing, volunteer numbers in all areas of philanthropic work are skyrocketing with people giving back to their communities.

If you are interested in either applying for the Alternative Spring Break Program for next year or getting involved with any of the other service programs mentioned, contact UNH’s Community Service program at, [email protected]