The idea of Punta Cana and other exotic vacation destinations sounds great ...until you see the cost. Studies have shown that more and more college students have made other alternative spring break plans that do not include binge drinking or draining your bank accounts. Don’t get me wrong, millions of students each year will still choose to take the exotic trips, however, many students this year at the U chose to give up their spring breaks for service, not partying.
The Community Outreach office located in DeNaples (second floor) offered a variety of spring break trips that did not include warm beaches and various bars. Instead, many students found themselves in vans road tripping to various locations throughout the US to offer service to an organization in need. The U sent a group of students to Georgia for Habitat for Humanity, a group of counseling majors to Chicago to work with an organization that works with abused women. The women’s crew team traveled 48 hours to New Orleans to work with families that are still suffering from post-Katrina damage. Another group of students traveled to DC to work with a homeless shelter for men.
We caught up with Junior, Laura Urbanovich, who traveled with forty other Scranton students to Washington, DC for a week of service during spring break. Laura told us that she found out about the trip though the Community Outreach office right on campus. The best part is anyone that is interested can join! Laura chose to simply sign up for what trip she felt most interested in, not where all of her friends were going.
They set out on their journey Sunday after parade day. That would normally sounds terrible but Laura reassured us: “the ride wasn’t too bad, it was fun playing games in the van and getting to know my peers with whom I’d be spending the next week with”.
They arrived at the McKenna House, which would be where they were doing most of their work and staying there as well. The McKenna House is a homeless shelter in the greater DC area. While many shelters cater mainly to women and children, this shelter caters to middle-aged men. The McKenna House also has a food pantry open to the general public who are in need. Students from the university also helped stuff pantry bags for those coming to pick up assorted groceries. In addition to doing this they also participated in their “meals on wheels” programs that delivers meals to families or individuals unable to pick it up themselves.
Laura’s favorite part of the time was just spending time with the men who reside in the McKenna house. Some were open about their lives and interested in talking with students and others wanted to keep to themselves. But all were very appreciative of our help. Students gained a lot from choosing to participate in this trip and were happy that they went to the McKenna House as opposed to Punta Cana for spring break.