Hamilton Habitat for Humanity volunteers in Laurel, Delaware.
Hamilton College’s Alternative Break (AXB) service trips returned this year for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic, with three student groups spending their time away from campus making a difference in North Carolina, Ohio, and Delaware.

Several students took part in the Greensboro, N.C., Refugee Service Learning trip, an ambitious pilot program that partnered with Guilford College’s Every Campus a Refuge Program (ECAR). ECAR advocates for housing refugee families on college and university campus grounds and supporting them in their resettlement. The trip’s goal was to engage with local community resources that support ECAR and learn ways to alleviate the refugee crisis on both a local and regional scale. 

Hamilton students worked directly with ECAR guests by tutoring and playing games with school-age children and facilitating enrichment activities. They volunteered with the New Garden Friends Meeting and Bob’s Closet, two local organizations that support refugee resettlement through donations of furniture and clothing, respectively.

Student volunteers enjoyed sharing a meal and engaging with ECAF guests. “Simply providing an opportunity to change their routine and practice English can go a long way in the first few months of the guests’ stay in the United States,” said trip co-leader Amy Zhai ’22. A highlight of the trip was helping the African Services Coalition with a move into new affordable housing for two families.

A second group of Hamiltonians traveled to Ohio to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Ohio. Students worked on a house in Trimble, Ohio, about 20 minutes away from the church where they stayed.

“By the end of the trip, we were told that out of all of the groups that had come to help work on a house, we got the most work done, and we put them 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule,” said trip co-leader Katie Rockford ’24. “[It] was very rewarding for us and showed that we truly did make a difference.”

Hamilton students also volunteered with Sussex County Habitat for Humanity in Delaware. In addition to some outdoor clean-up work at an existing Habitat home in Prince Georges Acres in Dagsboro, they worked at a Habitat multi-home construction site in the Laurel area installing gutters, painting, and framing windows. Trip participants and their hard work were also featured in the Delaware newspaper Bay to Bay News.

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