| 03.17.2018

Journeys to make a difference — Spring Alternative Service Break offers students the opportunity to make a difference

University of Idaho students will have the opportunity to make their spring breaks a bit more mysterious Tuesday.

At 7 p.m. in the Whitewater Room of the Idaho Commons registration will take place for the Spring Alternative Service Break. All of the spring trips this year are mystery trips. Students will be given a description of each trip, but not the location.

Rachel Davis, a UI student working in the Department of Student Involvement, played a large part in organizing this year’s trips.

“What’s cool about it is that we really want people to focus on service,” Davis said. “What are they best equipped to do?”

To determine the destination of the trips, the Department of Student Involvement works with Green Empowerment, an organization that works with communities to determine their needs. Davis said the mission of Green Empowerment aligns with theirs extremely well.

“You go in and support a community,” she said. “You go in and work with them, rather than ‘saving’ them.”

Sophomore David Catts attended an ASB trip to Nicaragua last winter. He said he was able to help the Nicaraguan community continue with necessary projects that were already underway.

“It was stuff the communities were already doing — it’s stuff they were already involved in.  We were just there to expedite the process,” Catts said.

This spring, there are five different trips taking place in the Pacific Northwest. They cover a wide range of service such as working with refugees, building homes in communities, environmental conservation or working in a correctional facility.

Davis said to register for any of the trips to come to registration night with a $50 deposit. There are eight slots open for each trip, and on Thursday students will find out where they are going.

“The total cost of the trip is $150,” Davis said. “That covers everything — transportation, housing, food.”

Catts said the winter ASB trip made a drastic impact on the way he views the world and his own service.

“I would say that it was an awakening of citizenship and responsibility,” he said. “It’s easy to get out there and just do something to make a change.”

Catts said he feels this is one of the most unique experiences UI offers to students. He said there is not many opportunities through the university to simultaneously serve communities, have a good time and learn new skills.

“There is no other experience, of all the ones the University of Idaho provides, that could provide you with a relevant education in humanity, things that you could apply to yourself personally, apply to your future career,” Catts said.

Davis said the takeaways each student has from going on an ASB trip varies, but are always positive. One of the most unique experiences, she said, is the cross section of students from the university the trip draws. Davis said it’s one of the few experiences on campus students from different departments readily interact.

“Honestly, it’s hard to speak for everyone. It’s different for everyone. For me, it’s always the relationships I make, both with the community members and my team,” she said.

Catts also said he feels the message of the trip differs from student to student. However, he said the trip was impactful for him and everyone who went with him.

“The things that you learn during the trip are things that you will take forward with you forever,” Catts said.

Carly Scott can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @Idaho_Scotty

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