The staff of the Springfield College Center for Service and Leadership recently led nine students through multiple community outreach service projects as part of the College’s alternative spring break program. With the typical spring break week in March postponed this year due to the pandemic, the students used the end of the semester to serve the surrounding community.
“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 the Center for Service and Leadership Charlene Elvers. “Students work extremely hard to organize and plan these trips. I am very proud to be a part of this program.”
Each trip this year focused on a social justice topic for service and learning. The students involved chose to learn more about food insecurity as their topic, particularly the increase in the number of people who are experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic.
This trip was two years in the making, and this experience exceeded every single expectation I had,” said co-trip leader Kyla Boyns. “Taking time to volunteer is fulfilling in itself, but when you are working alongside a committed and incredible group of individuals in the city that you call home, that just makes it even more special. This experience was a wonderful way to bring the semester to a close and I am proud to be a part of this amazing program.”
Joining Boyns on the trip were students: (co-leader) Delaney Bolton, Anmol Baruwal, Sarah Bannon, Mackenzie Correia, Erin Kandar, Jade Kiang, Max Pape, Rachel Prosper, and Prashant Timalsina.
“The relationships that we make with the community and each other on trips like these are strong and are a great way to connect the College with our neighborhood,” added Bolton.
As part of this year’s schedule, students once again provided service within our own community of Springfield, while educating participants on ways to give back to the community. The four-day schedule started with a collaboration with the Open Pantry community garden, in partnership with the Northeast Organic Farming Association and Sister Anna Muhammad. Students helped prepare the garden beds for planting this spring.
Day two included service work with the Oasis Food Pantry, where the students helped with the distribution of food to passengers in more than 1,500 cars at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield..
Next, the students once again teamed up with the Northeast Organic Farming Association and worked on the garden at the Tapley Court Apartment complex. The garden is planted and maintained by youth leaders in the community and the food is given to residents of three apartment complexes in Springfield.
The inspiring program was concluded with a Give Away Day at the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement on the campus, where the students distributed food and clothing to local Springfield residents. All of the items distributed came from donations made by students, faculty and staff at Springfield College.
The Springfield College alternative spring break program is part of a year-round mission at Springfield College to give back to the local community and to communities throughout the world. The mission of giving back to the community always remains a constant at Springfield College. Elvers continuously emphasizes to students that in order to be eligible for alternative spring break trips, they have to show a focus and commitment to local community engagement as well. The College Humanics in Action Program gives students an opportunity all year-long to take part in community outreach programs.
Springfield College is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational institution founded in 1885. Approximately 4,100 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its regional campuses across the country. Springfield College inspires students through the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy – educating in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.