Students share experiences from Alternative Breaks

Claire Kirk

While most people were on a beach soaking up the sun over Spring Break, some Iowa State students were donating their time to non-profit organizations across the country.

Five different groups of students traveled across the country donating their time to non-profit organizations in need.

The Alterative Breaks general co-chairs this year were Justin Glasper, senior in chemical engineering and Kaitlyn Fuqua, senior in biology. The co-chairs held an orientation open to students, to share their recent experiences and photographs from Spring Break.

One group traveled to Eagle Butte, South Dakota to help the Cheyenne River Youth Project. Different students talked about how this non-profit organization helped families and children in poverty.

Another group traveled to Rising Fawn, Georgia to help Cloud Canyon State Park. Glasper attended the trip.

“You had about two hours of training and immediately after you were out there building new trails,” Glasper said.

Many pictures of the Rising Fawn trip were shown throughout the presentation. Most of the pictures were of students in the dirt digging new trails for the State Park in the foggy weather with smiles on their faces.

“You had to dig deep enough into the trail to find the dirt that had a clay-like texture, that way the dirt would stick together and the trail would form,” Glasper said. Before and after pictures of the trails that students worked on throughout the week were shown in a slideshow.

Wellington, Colo., was where another group traveled to over Spring Break. Students helped the Harvest Farms non-profit organization.

Danielle Pohl, senior in Biology, was co-sight leader to the group that visited Harvest Farms. “This farm was for men who had serious problems with substance abuse to get help, by completing a year long program that changed their lives for the better.”

Students that shared their experiences at Harvest Farms said they were apprehensive about going to a farm of all males with substance abuse problems. They then said how quickly they made friends with everyone at the farm upon arrival, because of how welcoming all the men were.

This was Pohl’s second trip to Harvest Farms. “The graduation rate of this program is 10 percent, so it was cool to come back and see men still there that I met from my last trip.”

In Spartanburg, S.C. there is a non-profit organization called Christmas in Action.

Rachel Brosh, senior in global resource systems, accompanied the group to South Carolina. “This non-profit organization serves elderly people that live in poverty,” said Brosh.

The group also helped a smaller non-profit organization called Seeds of Hope while in Spartanburg. Students helped at a nearby food pantry to help the organization.

“The reason I continue participating in Alternative Breaks is because I love to see students at the orientations before going on a trip, and then seeing them after they have gone to help. It’s amazing to see the change,” Fuqua said.

Any student can be apart of Alternative Breaks. This group will be sending out a mass email to all of the students of Iowa State explaining how to get involved.

Other ways students can get involved with Alternative Breaks is by going to their website through Iowa State and signing up to become a volunteer.

At the end of every year, Iowa State has a celebration for the 10,000 hours of service that students donate. Over this last Spring Break, the students that participated in Alternative Breaks donated 3,080 hours of service.