Coordinators of the university’s spring break service trips say that they are pleased by an increase in applications this year, which has produced a more competitive pool of students for the programs, even though many students who applied were not accepted. Several organizers of different Alternative Spring Break Programs, which will send students to five destinations around the United States next week to participate in community service projects, said that they received a record number of applications this year. Edward Hanson (COL ’09), student coordinator for Georgetown Habitat for Humanity’s trip to New Orleans, said that the group received about 120 student applications but could only accommodate 23 applicants. Philip Fujimoto (COL ’07), a coordinator for Georgetown University Hurricane Emergency Relief Effort’s trip to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast, said that the group received 78 applications – an increase over last year of almost 30 applicants – for only 30 available slots. For the first time, the spring break programs promoted one another this year, which Hanson said may have fueled the jump in applications. All of the groups use a common application, which made it easier for students to apply for more than one program, he added. Hanson said that he has noticed particular attention drawn to his project. “There is a lot of interest among the student body in learning about New Orleans and doing something to help,” Hanson said. Program organizers said the increased level of student interest meant that some qualified students could not participate. Ray Shiu, student leadership and special programs director for the Center for Social Justice Teaching, Research and Service, said that housing constraints limit the spots available on each trip. He added that many student groups from institutions around the country organize similar programs, making accommodations difficult to secure. Clint Morrison (COL ’09), a GU HERE coordinator, said that the space limitations made reviewing the applications more difficult. “I would say that the quality of the applications rather than the number of them made the selection process all the more competitive,” Morrison said. “On the whole, the applicant pool was so strong that we took it upon ourselves to carefully read and discuss each one before reaching a decision.” Morrison said that he was unsure whether increased student interest would lead to higher-capacity trips next year, as coordinators have not yet established the details of those programs. But he expressed hope that the increased interest represented a positive shift in the outlook of Georgetown’s student body. “I believe this year’s higher interest level shows that the alternative spring break is becoming more and more a part of the Georgetown experience,” said Morrison, who went on a trip to Alabama last year. “From a personal standpoint, I can say that last year’s trip represented the turning point in my life on the Hilltop and in many ways reshaped my image of the school.”

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