SPRING BREAK Students Opt To Spend Spring Break in Service By Rebecca Regan-Sachs Hoya Staff Writer

While most college students spent spring break at home with old friends or sunbathing in a foreign paradise, approximately 130 Georgetown students chose to participate in Georgetown’s community service programs.

Rather than sweating on the beach, these students elected to sweat in service. Two of Georgetown’s long-standing student-run programs allow participants to provide their physical strength in helping those less fortunate. Spring Break in Appalachia takes groups of approximately 15 students to eight sites in Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia where they work with members of the community to build and repair houses.

“We worked on one big house,” Elliott Lash (COL ’05), who spent his vacation in the West Virginia program, said. “Someone was moving from a trailer-park into a house. He was building the house and we came in and helped him on it,” Lash said. “We put up drywall, screwed that in . and then I helped a little bit building the deck of the house and put a few stairs in.”

Unlike the standard and often costly trip to an exotic location, Georgetown’s service programs allow students to not only help those less fortunate but to take advantage of its comparative inexpensiveness as well, Mike Lezaja (COL ’05) said.

“We stayed in a church and every night we were provided dinner by the town,” Lash said. “We actually did have set events and set schedules.” According to Lash, however, the trip was not all work. “We had a day off where we hiked up a mountain and looked around, took pictures,” he said.

Georgetown’s Spring Break in Appalachia program has been a mainstay of the university’s commitment to community service and volunteerism for more than 15 years. Last year a new location was added to the program, allowing students to spend a week on a Cherokee reservation working and learning about the culture.

Another student-run service program brought a group of students to a needy community in Miami, Fla. to work with the local Habitat for side homeowners and students from six other colleges, Georgetown’s volunteers planted trees, painted walls and tiled floors. Kate Derringer (NHS ’05) said that she felt as grateful for the experience as she thought the new homeowners felt.

“I was originally going to go on the Spring Break in Appalachia . but then I heard about the Miami one and thought it’s kind of a nice two-for-one deal,” Elizabeth Reinemann (NHS ’05) said. “You can go to a beautiful place and also help people out.”

“I went for a few reasons,” Lezaja said. “First I wanted to do something good, secondly I wanted to see another part of the country. I also wanted to meet some new people.”

Whatever their reasons for spending their spring break in service, Georgetown students said they were pleased with their experiences and enthusiastic about becoming part of the Georgetown tradition. “It was a great time and a lot of fun. I recommend it to anybody,” Lezaja said.

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