Get to know: Spring Break service trip

A previous Habitat for Humanity Spring Break trip in South Carolina, Courtesy of Ursinus

Jenni Berrios

If you have the willingness to do service but do not have the time to volunteer during the year, then the Habitat for Humanity trip might be for you. The third annual Alternative Spring Break Habitat for Humanity is underway due to the hard work of Angela Upright ’17 and Sophie Gioffre ’19. Students from different majors and class years are encouraged to apply.

Students have the chance to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity in Georgetown, South Carolina. The trip runs from Mar. 8-14, 2020. Upright thinks that this could be a great way for students to immerse themselves in service when they finally have the time. This type of service was lack- ing in the past for many students who wanted to be part of a service trip, and Upright wanted to change that.

For Upright, a service trip is an opportunity for significant hands- on-learning. She was impacted and grew so much after the Jamaica trip she took with the Bonners during Spring Break; she wanted other students to have the chance to experience that as well. So, with the Herald C. Smith grant, she was able to organize this upcoming Habitat for Humanity trip and make it possible.

The itinerary of the trip consists of working at the ReStore the first day and then working on houses for the duration of the trip. You do not have to have any skill or experience to work on the houses. There are experienced volunteers that can teach you how to put a window in a house. The last day of the trip will be a chill day to explore; Upright wants it to be a reward for all the hard work the students have put in.

This year’s trip will have some minor changes from the trips in the past to help improve the experience. Sophie Gioffre will plays a huge role by co-leading the trip. She is currently doing a post-bacc fellowship and working on the school’s new e-portfolio, BearTracks. Students participating in the trip will use BearTracks to add goals they want to set before the trip and store their reflections during the trip. Gioffre will be there to encourage those kinds of reflective endeavors.

Service can be impactful and influence your interaction with society, but once you are back into the routine of school that inspiration can start to fade. Sophie hopes that recording the reflections during the trip will change this. Another change is having two meetings before the trip starts to prepare for service. One meeting will discuss the history of Habitat and its goals, and the other will be more of a get-to-know- you type of meeting.

Angela wants to encourage students to “question why we are there, get to know the people we are working with, understanding what they need and not just show up thinking we know what they need.” For that reason, the school is looking for applicants who are open-minded and willing to work as a team with different people. The application closes Dec. 8.