More than 50 Springfield College students used 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.”
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, 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 16th 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.”
New to this year’s program were local service projects throughout the city of Springfield, including visits to Friends of the Homeless, Gray House, Emergency Food Pantry, and the Lions Den Youth Center, as well as a service project with Revitalize CDC. Students also embarked on a Habitat for Humanity trip to Vero Beach, Fla.; a journey to Guatemala where they participated in different daily service projects, including working with youth at schools; and a trip to the Bahamas, where they worked with youth groups and volunteered 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 stayed in Springfield to supervise the local projects. “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.