Spring break is fast approaching, and everyone is counting down the days until the time off. This year, a group of students are headed to Florida, where they plan to enjoy the warmer weather while serving others.
This Alternative Spring Break trip has been organized by senior organizational communication major Samantha Wyant. Its staff advisors are Abbey Rutschilling and Pastor Drew Tucker.
The group will be flying from Columbus to Tampa Feb. 23, and they’ll be staying at a Lutheran church in the area. A total of 26 service hours have been planned for the week, and the students will be volunteering in various locations.
They’ll start with Habitat for Humanity, working in a ReStore, which sells donated home improvement items at a fraction of the cost. They will also go to a build site, where they could do anything from painting to demolition.
They’ll also spend two days in Manatee County’s parks, collecting seeds, cleaning up public areas, and performing routine maintenance on hiking trails, all while experiencing the beauty of nature.
The group will assist the Beth-El Ministry, an organization dedicated to serving Hispanic farmworkers. Alongside Beth-El, the students will be serving lunches to these laborers.
Finally, they’ll volunteer in area churches, helping with outreach and ministry programs.
While the trip is primarily service-oriented, the students plan on having fun, too. They’re going to visit the beach (obviously), go mini-golfing with alligators, try their luck with kayaking, attend a local arts festival, and more. Following a fulfilling week of service, the group will return to Columbus March 2.
Wyant is coordinating the trip as part of her senior capstone project, and although this is the first year for Alternative Spring Break, a university sponsored service trip was offered in the not-so-distant past.
The idea first occurred to Wyant during the summer of 2018, and she reached out to Rutschilling and Tucker to get the project started. After deciding on a location in October, she brainstormed service opportunities and worked to put together activities. The student group was finalized at the beginning of the semester, and Wyant has been wrapping up details throughout February.
Wyant hopes that another student will be willing to organize the trip next year.
“That’s the thought behind it, that it can be an ongoing event open to everyone,” Wyant said.
The group has a Facebook page called “Capital University Alternative Spring Break Trip 2019” where you can follow along with their trip updates.