Over the years, spring break has become synonymous with going to the beach, partying and drinking. Yet some Drexel students have chosen to forgo the stereotypical college spring break experience this year, instead deciding to volunteer their time for an Alternative Spring Break trip. Although the deadline to sign up for ASB has passed, there are still many ways for students to give back during their time off.
We all volunteered at least five hours for our University 101 classes through the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement, and we can honestly say we felt good about it. The benefit to the Philadelphia community and the lasting feeling of accomplishment made the experience a profound one for many of us. Even if you aren’t building homes with Habitat for Humanity in Georgia or restoring trails in Florida during your time off, you can still make a difference and re-experience that feeling of accomplishment from freshman year. A day volunteering at a soup kitchen has a longer-lasting impact than a day laying on the beach doing nothing.
If you don’t want to give up your break entirely, there are several small things you can do to give back. The Red Cross is always looking for blood donors and people to volunteer at their collection events. Sadly, only three out of every 100 people eligible to donate blood in the United States actually do. And hey, not only do they check your pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin for free, but they’ll also give you free pretzels, cookies and orange juice when you finish.
If you’re staying in Philly for your break, there’s a great local organization that is constantly seeking volunteer service. Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, serves low-income residents who are constantly facing hunger and at risk of malnutrition. Located at 3616 S. Galloway St., the nonprofit frequently works with college students to unload food donations and stock them in time for their customers in need. Members of the Editorial Board have worked with this organization and fully endorse its mission to bring food and hope to those who desperately need it. If you’re going back home for the break, however, take the time to look around and see what in your local community could be improved. Not every good cause has an organization to support it. Your contribution could be as simple as cleaning up a local park with a group of friends.
Whatever you decide to do for your spring break, keep a good balance. You certainly deserve a few days of relaxation after 11 grueling weeks of classes, papers and exams, but you also shouldn’t waste an opportunity to volunteer your time for the benefit of those less fortunate than you.