Students travel to make spring break meaningful

Monday, March 3, 2014 4:55:00 PM

On Sunday, 30 students began a memorable spring break week as they ventured on a 14-hour bus ride to Cumberland County, N.J., to partner again with Habitat for Humanity in a continuing the effort to restore homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

This is the second consecutive year Stritch’s alternative spring break trip is heading to help with relief efforts in Vineland, N.J. Typically, Habitat spring break destinations vary from year to year, but last year’s group felt strongly about returning to a place where they developed a strong connection and received recognition for their efforts from the mayor of Vineland, N.J., and from U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo.

“Habitat made it really special for us with everything they did last year and it seemed like the work was not yet finished,” said Sean Lybeck-Smoak, assistant director of experiential learning and trip coordinator. “So we decided that for at least one more year we would go back.”

They are spending four days working on interior and exterior construction projects, helping at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and possibly assisting with constructing sheds and installing a fence. Aside from their labors, the group will enjoy some fun, too. Evenings will be dedicated to various activities, including open-mic/karaoke night, billards, YMCA recreation, Atlantic City excursion, and a waterpark stop.

Participating in the trip are: Oyinlola Abidogun, Nana Boakye, Jasmine Buck, Vicente Campos, Yesenia Castro Garcia, Cecilia Davila-Lozano, Beth Edmond, Ivyanne Elborough, Amanda Ferns, Sarah Fischer, La'Vada Gardner, Tiffany Garza, Anne Gates, Zoe Gibney, Crystal Harris, Monica Kling, Elizabeth Kolasch, Oluwatomisin Ladeinde, Govanne Martinez, Madelynne Miller, Alejandra Murguia, Sarah Pechstein, Oscar Rosas, Teresa Schiltz, Quaevion Smith-Robinson, Jed Wardecke, Lukus Wardecke, Aubrey Warner, Marcie Weiss, and Destiny Williams. Accompanying the students with Lybeck-Smoak is Dan Geddes, assistant director of academic and career advising.

A second group of faculty and students has departed for a spring break trip to Belize focused on ecotourism. This trip will provide students the opportunity to learn about environmentally sustainable and responsible business practices.

Led by Dr. Mark Gesner, faculty chair of community engaged learning and leadership for the College of Business and Management, and Sarah Sweeney, coordinator of international education and study abroad, the weeklong trip will include a service project, onsite learning at the Cotton Tree Lodge in Punta Gorda, Belize, and engagement in local commerce.

“The entire trip is designed to align the College’s mission to balance people, planet, and profit with real world business practices,” said Gesner.

The group will also learn about Belize’s history and culture through visits to ancient Mayan ruins and local cacao farms.