While many college students across the country will head to the beach next week for spring break recreation, several Samford students have chosen to spend their breaks differently.
Fifteen Samford students will be traveling with University Ministries to Chicago for spring break March 18-22. Students attending the trip will work with Canaan Community Church, a local church in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Last year, University Ministries established a long-term partnership with the church, said April Robinson, minister to students for community and campus involvement.
"We wanted to choose a place that we could return to each year to learn and serve alongside the people in the community," said Robinson, one of three Samford staff members leading the trip.
Working alongside the people in the local community is one reason why Taylor Bell, a senior sociology major from Louisville, Ky., will be making his second trip to Chicago for spring break.
"Living within the communities in which you work and minister is something I seek to do with my life," said Bell. "Going to Chicago for spring break is an important use of my time because of the community development we'll be doing."
While University Ministries heads north, eight Samford students will be going south to Orlando to participate in the Alternative Spring Break program, sponsored by the Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement. The students will be working with Give Kids the World, a non-profit resort that provides free vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
"Give Kids the World relies on volunteers to keep the resort running," said Janna Pennington, director of student leadership and community engagement. "The Samford students will be assigned various tasks, including digital photography assistant, train conductor, carousel attendant, ice cream server, breakfast cart driver, and pool attendant."
Pennington said a trip like this not only benefits the community being served but also the Samford students. Moreover, she believes the Alternative Spring Break program is an important part of Samford's commitment to service.
"We chose to start an Alternative Spring Break program because we thought it fit well with Samford's mission," Pennington said, "which explicitly links the university's Christian mission with 'social and civic responsibility, and service to others.'"
Bo Morris is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Office of Marketing and Communication.