Students head out of state for spring break service projects

A group of Sam Houston State University students will spend their spring break working on service projects out of state through the Center for Leadership and Service’s Alternative Spring Break.

The ASB program is a weeklong event organized by these dedicated to giving students experiences in community service and engagement through volunteer work and activities. The program gives participants the chance to serves those in need and teaches students to be more aware of community engagement and social issues.

Sarah Hagler, graduate assistant for Service Programs at the CLS, said there is a wide range of issues the program addresses through their trips.

“A few examples of issues addressed by ASB trips include literacy, poverty, racism, hunger and the environment,” Hagler said. “Teams are led by student site leaders who guide group development before, during and after the experience.”

Hagler has been involved with ASB since 2010. She participated in the program during her freshman year and decided to become more involved following her experience.

“I decided that I wanted to apply for a leadership position within the program and became a Site Leader for the next three years,” Hagler said. “As a graduate student, I now serve as an advisor to the program in my position.”

Students participating in ASB are split up into two teams with one travelling to Oklahoma City and the other to Mississippi to work on different projects.

“The Oklahoma team will be focusing on children and youth while helping facilitate a camp experience for students at Camp Fire Heart in Oklahoma City,” Hagler said. “They will help the camp staff facilitate different activities, such as rock climbing, boating, fishing, zip lining and a low elements challenge course. The SHSU team will also complete a beautification project at the camp to leave a lasting impact on the site.”

Hagler said the Mississippi team will focus on hunger and homelessness and partner with a non-profit organization that helps students connect to service opportunities.

“[The Mississippi team] will be partnering with Community Collaborations International,” Hagler said. “They will be packing disaster relief kits at the Twelve Baskets Food Bank, doing yard work at Exodus House, assisting at the Boys and Girls Club and participating in other activities related to their social issue.”

Hagler believes ASB is an important program for students to be involved with because it exposes them to experiences and teaches students things they can carry with them throughout life.

“Our university’s motto is ‘the measure of a life is its service’, so a commitment to service is important not only to our programs, but to campus community as a whole,” Hagler said. “Alternative Spring Break is a unique opportunity to engage young adults in service and addressing social issues that pervade our society.”

Hagler hopes the students who participate in ASB will take these experiences and be able to look at social issues differently than they may have.

“It is our goal that students participating in ASB will strive to become active citizens and start asking questions about the social issues affecting the people in local communities,” Hagler said. “We want to challenge students to think about these issues and find ways to move towards eradicating them, while also educating and informing others.”

Both the “Karing Kats with Passionate Hearts” and the “Serving on the Other Side of the Mississippi” teams will carry out their projects between March 8 and 14.

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