Instead of lathering on sunscreen and hitting the beach, more than 20 Ithaca College students spent spring break volunteering. Don Austin, assistant director for community service and leadership, organizes the Alternative Spring Break trips each year. “The biggest benefit is being completely immersed in the culture and environment they are serving,” he says.
For students on the New Orleans trip, that meant rebuilding from Hurricane Katrina. For those who went to Pensacola, Florida, it meant working on an environmental restoration project in an area affected by the gulf oil spill. For those who went to Washington, D.C., it meant focusing on homelessness and poverty. They also connected with area alumni, other IC students in the D.C. program, and local nonprofits to get a social justice perspective of the nation’s capital.
Danielle Prizzi ’13 chose to go to New Orleans last year because she was interested in seeing the city post-Katrina in a way the media doesn’t portray. “I wanted to make a difference,” says Prizzi, who returned to New Orleans in March. “My first trip literally changed my life and opened me up to a world where I want to go into social change.”
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