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A Working Spring Break

By Holly Foster
Posted March 19, 2014
Tags Alternative Spring Break Community Service COOP Students

Spring break doesn’t mean just fun in the sun for all college students. One-hundred Hamilton students are spending a week of their spring break volunteering at one of 10 nonprofit organizations for Alternative Spring Break (ASB), March 16-28.

This year marks Hamilton’s 21st ASB, an annual volunteer venture that consists of 10 different community service trips. Nine groups are heading south for week-long Habitat for Humanity construction projects, direct service work with children or environmental work. Another group of 10 students is in New Jersey to help clean up in the lingering aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Five trips are taking place the first week of break, March 16-23.

Friends of the Lower Greenbrier River
At a new location this year, Hamilton students are volunteering at Friends of the Lower Greenbrier River (FOLGR) in West Virginia.  FOLGR strives for secure drinking water quality and recreational values of the watershed. It is involved in many projects that help conserve and protect the water resources of the Greenbrier River watershed, such as water monitoring, invasive species clean-up and educational programs.

Hurricane Sandy relief, Highland Park, N.J.
Ten students are in the Highland Park, N.J., area to help with Hurricane Sandy relief work. The Hamilton students are working on projects that will include removing sand from buildings and homes, rebuilding dunes, improving trails and parks, after-school programs, and painting, among others.

Habitat for Humanity

Hamilton students are working this week on Habitat for Humanity projects in three states. One group is volunteering at Eastern Shore of Virginia Habitat for Humanity which has completed and dedicated more than 40 homes in Northampton and Accomack counties.  Ten students traveled to Madison & Clark, Ky., to work on a house there; and a third group returned to Habitat for Humanity in Marion County, S.C.  

Five ASB trips will take place during the second week of break, March 23-28.

YSOP, Washington, D.C.
For the fourth year, 10 Hamilton students are working with Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP) in shelters, soup kitchens, schools, food and clothing banks and other direct-service institutions. YSOP is committed to helping young people become part of the solution to societal problems by showing them how even their smallest actions can make a difference in the lives of others.

Habitat for Humanity, Almost Heaven, W. Va
A group of students will travel to West Virginia to work at Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, which has 23 years of service in partnership with low-income families in Eastern West Virginia. 

Burgaw Elementary School, Wilmington, N.C.
Ten Hamilton students will return to work at Burgaw Elementary School near Wilmington, N.C. Through this annual outreach program, they’ll help students with homework and participate in after-school activities.

Cumberland Trails, Tenn.
In what has become another annual trip, Hamilton students will return to the Crossville, Tenn., area to help build trails and do maintenance. The Cumberland Trail (CT), a Tennessee State Scenic Hiking Trail, became Tennessee’s 53rd state park in 1998.

Chatham Habitat for Humanity, Pittsboro, N.C.
The Hamilton group  will return for the second year to  work for Chatham Habitat for Humanity in Pittsboro where they’ll help build a house for a family in need. Since 1989, Habitat for Humanity has worked to change substandard housing conditions throughout Chatham County by making homeownership possible for more than 100 families.

Hamilton’s ASB program was initially sponsored by the Hamilton Association for Volunteering, Outreach and Charity (HAVOC), a student-run organization that provides community service in Oneida County. ASB was started in 1993 when 20 students traveled to Miami to work on Hurricane Andrew relief with Habitat for Humanity. In subsequent years, the number of participants has steadily increased.

ASB has now evolved into its own student organization with an executive board that runs the program with Hamilton’s COOP.

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