At a campus community surrounded by lavish living styles and expensive taste, it can be easy to become locked within the confines of wastefulness. Instead of taking these luxuries for granted, several students decided to dedicate their time to be humble and give back.
Although Endicott’s Community Service club dedicates their time assisting the surrounding communities, taking the extra step to travel and help was the choice of 17 students and two staff advisors.
Endicott’s annual Alternative Spring Break, coined as “the week that lasts a lifetime,” was held this past Spring break in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Historically, Punta Gorda is known for its disheartening poverty line, disabled community, and lack of affordable housing. Of the 20% of Florida's population in poverty, 13.4% call Punta Cana their home, according to City-Data.
The goal of the group, working alongside Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity, was to provide affordable homes for the less fortunate living in Punta Gorda, especially those living below the poverty line.
The Alternative Spring Break student leaders, Tyler Comito ‘20, Christine Haskell ‘19, and Madison Odryna ‘19, spent six months planning traveling logistics, food plans, activities, and coordination. Two staff advisors, Molly Buckley and Dr. Matt Staffier, also accompanied the students.
Odryna, a senior Hospitality Management major, joined Alternative Spring Break in 2017 as a way to give back to those outside of Massachusetts in her downtime during Spring semester. That year she traveled to North Carolina, followed by South Carolina in 2018.
“I chose to apply as a trip leader after having two amazing experiences on Spring Break where I was not only able to make a huge impact on the community we were serving, but also helped ground myself in my own values [and] remind me of what's important in life in the middle of the hectic college semesters,” said Odryna about her experiences from the past two years of participating in Alternative Spring Break.
This past 2019 Alternative Spring Break week, the entire crew performed three weeks worth of work on one home, painting the entire interior and garage interior of another home. The trip was spent with the participants and volunteers working tirelessly to complete renovations.
Besides spring break trips, other Alternative Break Programs are offered through Endicott’s Community Service Office, including winter and summer break. A commitment to planning, traveling, and volunteering are required while participating in such trips.
For those who are averted to traveling, on-campus break programs are still available, along with community service projects during the academic year, such as delivering food to local homeless shelters.
Any interests of involvement in Alternative Break Programs can be directed towards Lauri Rawls, head of Endicott Community Service. Applications to participate in alternative spring break are available at the beginning of each fall semester.