WMU News

Students spend spring break volunteering, learning

Feb. 25, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- As many of their classmates wile away their spring breaks in tropical locales, hundreds of Western Michigan University students will spend their spring breaks learning, serving others or developing their spirituality.

Ten faith and spiritual development organizations will send students on 17 trips in North and South America, while students participating in Alternative Spring Break will be dispatched to 11 U.S. cities. Their experiences will range from ministering to spring break revelers in Florida to interacting with terminally ill children in South Dakota.

In addition to four "mystery trips," WMU's faith and spiritual development student organizations have organized the following excursions:

HIS House Christian Fellowship--During a trip to Panama City Beach, Fla., students will be working with Beach Reach, offering pancake breakfasts and free rides to students taking their spring break in Florida, as well as forming prayer teams and street teams for people who are in crisis or just want to talk. Contact Scott Crary at (269) 382-6224.

Solid Grounds Lutheran Campus Ministries--Students will help build an orphanage in Monterrey Mexico. Contact (269) 349-1100.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship--More than twice as many students as ever before will participate in the annual mission trip. One group will participate in mercy ministries, evangelism, and construction in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Another group will travel to New Rochelle, N.Y. to work with Habitat for Humanity. Contact (269) 387-2502.

Bronco Campus Ministry (the Gathering)--Students will take part in a mission trip to Hoop Heaven/Citi-Vision Camps in New York and will do construction at summer camps. Contact Todd or Jillian at (269) 321-8678.

Bronco Campus Ministry (the Gathering)--Students will travel to Chicago to repair inner-city homes and work with people of the city. Contact Chris and Keri Ravrick at (269) 329-2733.

Bronco Campus Ministry (the Gathering)--During a trip to Chicago, students will focus on working with inner-city ministries and undertaking a building project at a summer camp. Contact Kelly Tucker at (269) 217-5974.

Calvary College Ministry--Students will take a spiritual renewal trip to Florida. Contact Tony Cammarota at (269) 372-1130.

International Student Fellowship--An educational tour for international students to New York City and Philadelphia is designed to help the students understand the early history of the United States. Contact (269) 382-6600 x20.

St. Thomas More Catholic Student Parish--Students will be visiting El Salvador to spend time with college students at a sister parish learning about Salvadoran culture, history and the various outreach projects run by the parish; as well as take medical and optical equipment and medicine. Contact the Rev. Kenneth Schmidt at (269) 381-8917.

United Campus Ministry--Four projects are planned. Students will work on a Habitat for Humanity program in the southern United States. Volunteers will visit the Navajo nation in Ship Rock, New Mexico to work at a family shelter, talk with Navajo educators, hike to significant sites, learn the culture and explore the desert. Students will visit New York to work at shelters, talk with service providers, learn from local leaders, visit Ground Zero and explore the city. And students in business and nonprofit administration programs will travel to Washington, D.C., to work with the homeless, talk with business leaders and explore the city. For information on any of these trips, call (269) 387-2560.

Wesley Foundation--Students will visit Colemont, Tenn., to serve at Mountaintop World Missions. Contact Thom Davenport at (269) 344-4076.

Alternative Spring Break will also send students to volunteer sites around the country. Now in its 12th year at the University, Alternative Spring Break matches students with positive volunteer experiences where they learn the value of community service. Under the umbrella of WMU's Student Volunteer Services in the Lee Honors College, the program encourages students to leave their familiar surroundings and experience a drastically different environment.

Students will be: volunteering with children with terminal illnesses in Sioux Falls, S.D.; working with the elderly in Washington, D.C.; volunteering with children and cultural groups in Tahlequah, Okla.; working with an AIDS Foundation in San Antonio; working to combat rural poverty and homelessness in Alamosa, Colo.; volunteering with emotionally impaired children in Freeport, N.Y.; helping out on a Habitat for Humanity project in New Orleans; volunteering at the Home for Boys in Georgetown, S.C.; cleaning up the environment in Florida; helping international refugees acclimate to American culture in Nashville, Tenn.; and working to combat homelessness in Cleveland, Ohio.

For more information about Alternative Spring Break, members of the media may contact Kimberly Becker at (269) 387-6547 or <kbecks7@hotmail.com>.

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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