College students choose to volunteer during spring break

This article from CNN Travel caught my eye today since it talked about how more and more college students are opting to do volunteer travel during the spring break, rather than resort to the usual partying.

These volunteer trips address several social and environmental issues. La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), Break Away, and United Way of America are some of the go-to institutions for alternative spring break activities. Some university programs even offer financial aid for spring break volunteers, making these programs more accessible even to students who usually can’t afford to travel.

This was what Jill Piacitelli, Break Away’s executive director, had to say about this trend:

“It’s a student-led social movement. … This is a group that very much wants to be involved in the world around them,” Piacitelli said of the volunteers. “They’re solution-oriented. They want to innovate and lead and involve their peers.”
Source: “Spring Breakers Skip Cancun for Volunteer Work” by Elham Khatami,

I hope this movement becomes more common. I for one would prefer seeing images of college students volunteering in impoverished or devastated areas rather than mainstream media’s usual depiction of spring break – as that usually includes drunken partying on the beach and some girls taking their bras off. True, spring break volunteer trips won’t make good videos for the “Girls Gone Wild” series, but they’ll make a more lasting impression on both the students and the communities they serve.

What do you think of this trend? Have you ever done this while you were in college?

Posted by | Comments (6)  | March 5, 2009
Category: General

6 Responses to “College students choose to volunteer during spring break”

  1. brian Says:

    It’s a great trend. I had the privilege of serving when I was in college, and I’m trying to organize an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) now that I’m a college counselor and club advisor. We rebuilt low income housing in Marks, MS, and the experience and people were wonderful.

  2. Nicolai Says:

    I did this in 2004, was the only spring break worth remembering. Changed my life

  3. Lauren Says:

    This is great. I spent a month in summer-2005- volunteering in a women’s shelter. An intense but rewarding experience. Ultimately, it was this experience abroad that inspired me to return to Africa and travel solo for a long time.

  4. John Pelley Says:

    They will come back after break feeling enthused and more focused. It is a Win Win Situation for both the volunteer and the recipient.

  5. Z Jones Says:

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog.

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