Spring breakdown

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By Staff Editorial

By Staff Editorial

Beer. Beaches. Bikinis

These commodities characterize the traditional spring break for many college students.

After endless tests, papers and constant evaluations, students consider spring break a chance to blow off steam through frivolous activities.

However, more and more students are choosing to forego the usual week of debauchery and opt to spend their time off helping others.

These trips have been labeled alternative spring breaks.

Alternative spring breaks are spent building homes with Habitat for Humanity or teaching in an undeveloped part of the world.

As younger generations become more aware of their impact on the future, more of them are choosing to become actively involved in reshaping it.

That’s why now is the time for college students to reclaim their spring breaks and make them about something more than alcohol and sex.

Now, we would never discourage anyone from spending their break partying like a rock star. However, you can only attend so many parties before they become redundant.

With an alternative spring break, the experience will be different evey time.

Major organizations, like the Student Conservation Association, are helping put these programs together.

For 2009, the group organized a two-week excursion to the Grand Canyon where participants engaged in important environmental programs and park graffiti removal.

Choosing an alternative spring break over a more traditional trip may sound like skipping a vacation, but for college students, there are plenty of opportunities to party.

Trips like these offer the opportunity to socialize while participating in a once-in-a-lifetime experience and making a positive impact on the world.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars to travel to a random beach and spend the day drinking and partying, you could travel somewhere more exotic to socialize, make a difference and maybe even get paid.

Alternative spring breaks not only offer exciting new experiences, but many of the organizations involved also offer travel reimbursements or pay for room and board during the excursion.

For example, while the travelers must pay their own way to the Grand Canyon, the Student Conservation Association offers a $300 reimbursement when the trip ends and provides food and ground transportation.

If traveling internationally in the current global climate doesn’t sound interesting, you could stay in the United States and volunteer at a local food bank or try your hand at construction.

The Collegiate Challenge program from Habitat for Humanity offers high school and college aged youth a chance to help those less fortunate by spending a week building a home.

Habitat for Humanity provides housing and meals, while participants only pay a small fee.

This means that for about half the price of a drunken week in Palm Springs, students can still travel with friends and meet new people while learning important lessons about sacrifice and gaining leadership experience.

These are just a few of the opportunities that popped up from an Internet search of alternative spring breaks.

Imagine the possibilities if you were looking for a specific experience, like a trip to the still broken Gulf Coast to help rebuild or a week spent volunteering with a youth program.

It’s no secret that the world is in bad shape. From the economy to the environment, the list of problems is long.

With more problems than solutions, it’s time to start thinking outside the box and making some sacrifices.

An alternative spring break can provide the opportunity for lighthearted fun while giving students the chance to experience the other side of spring break that includes volunteerism and community service.

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