front row (l-r): Jillian Kelley, Gina Pepe, Lexi Jelm; middle row (l-r): Fiona Cole, Meghan Kinee,Courtney Greth ; back row (l-r):Nick Vecchiarelli, Austin Ramos, Kaye Ingalsbe, Eric Aurelien, Forrest Pratt, Natalie Waechter
More than 50 Springfield College students will be using their spring break to volunteer with community outreach programs throughout the globe as part of the student volunteers alternative spring break program on the campus. Alternative spring break is part of a year-round mission at Springfield College to give back to the local community and to communities throughout the world.
“The alternative spring break program continues to flourish at the College because of the dedication of our students wanting to give back, both in our local community and nationally as well,” said Director of Student Volunteer Programs Charlene Elvers. “Students work extremely hard to organize and plan these trips. They host fundraisers throughout the academic year to assist with travel costs. I am very proud to be a part of this program and we are looking forward to some great adventures this year.”
The mission of giving back to the community always remains a constant at Springfield College and Elvers continuously emphasizes to students that in order to be eligible for alternative spring break trips, which take place March 16-20, they have to show a focus and commitment to local community engagement as well.
“Prior to my time on the campus, many of the trips were planned in May rather than during spring break,” said Elvers, who is in her 15th year at Springfield College. “When I first started in my current role, I began helping student groups to organize alternative spring break trips, starting with the Springfield College Outreach Committee. The trips have since grown and now multiple student organizations run, organize, and fundraise for their own trips.”
This year, students will embark on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Sumter, S.C.; a journey to Guatemala where they will participate in different daily service projects, including working with youth at schools and at a women’s cooperative; and a trip to the Bahamas, where they will work with youth groups and volunteer in schools.
“There is always a lot of anticipation each year and to have the opportunity to watch our students acting so selflessly is so enjoyable to watch,” said Elvers, who will be chaperoning the trip to the Bahamas. “This week of service is just one example of the community engagement efforts Springfield College remains committed to, but giving back truly does take place year-round on the campus.”
Early in the fall semester each year, approximately 2,000 Springfield College students, faculty, staff, and alumni take part in the annual Humanics in Action Day, a day of community service throughout the city of Springfield. College work groups fulfill more than 100 projects on this day, including services for schools, churches, senior citizen facilities, child care centers, community organizations, city agencies, and neighborhoods. Educational projects for school children exist, including students reading to youngsters at the Brookings School. The majority of the volunteers participated in many indoor and outdoor painting projects, clean-up/fix-up projects, landscaping, and a host of other indoor and outdoor services.
Individuals can keep up with students by following their alternative spring break blog at wordpress.spfldcol.edu/springbreak.
Founded in 1885, Springfield College is known worldwide for the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy—educating students in spirit, mind and body for leadership in service to others. With its foundation of academic excellence and rich athletic heritage, Springfield College prepares students with real-world leadership skills for careers that transform lives and communities. The college offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the fields of health sciences, human and social services, sport management and movement studies, education, business, and the arts and sciences. It also offers doctoral programs in physical education, physical therapy, and counseling psychology. The college is ranked in the 2015 edition of “Best Colleges” in the top tier of “Best Regional Universities – North Region” by U.S.News and World Report, and is designated as a premier Leadership Development Center by the YMCA of the USA. More than 5,000 traditional, nontraditional and international students study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its School of Human Services campuses across the country.