200 Days in the Life of the College

Monday, March 14

The other spring break

It’s a 23-hour van trip for 10 students who volunteered for Alternative Spring Break service with Habitat for Humanity in Natchez, Miss. They sleep in a chapel, work eight-hour days on a two-bedroom house (Tiffany Andrade ’13 works with sheetrock in an entryway, above) but eat well, says Alexandra Orlov ’13: “Members of the Natchez community were extremely generous in making sure we were stuffed to the gills all week long with delicious ribs, fried catfish, pasta, cookies, berry cobbler and other goodies.” Another reward was less tangible, but just as important: “A group of mere acquaintances transformed into a family — we even called our two senior student leaders ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad!’ The trip was a fantastic experience and definitely inspired me to continue performing community service.”

Closer to home, at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse, a team of Hamilton students carries out a number of projects, says Meghan Woolley ’13. Much the week is devoted to painting the mission’s emergency shelter; students also serve food at the food service center, where they themselves eat, as well as handling filing and organizing chores. They also sort donated clothes at the mission’s Clothing Outreach store — “a lot of underwear the first day,” Woolley says. Among the other students sorting are Muriel Schwinn ’13, Kathryn Tooker ’13, Katy Mastrocola ’13 and Joelle Adler ’13.