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Service, Learning, World Study – UC Students Look Ahead to Spring Break


Beyond the beach, many UC students are gearing up for experiences to transform other people’s lives as well as their own.

Date: 3/4/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Honors Program, Engineers Without Borders, College of Business

UC ingot   This springtime, one group of University of Cincinnati students will experience firsthand the old Cole Porter song, “I Love Paris, every moment” of their holiday. Others will be sleeping under mosquito nets and taking bucket-baths as they follow up on projects to prevent waterborne illness.

UC’s spring break is the week of March 22. Each year, it’s a time for UC students not only to discover that the world is their classroom, but also to experience how service can have an amazing impact on others, particularly in these troubling economic times.

Ben Schutte
Ben Schutte

“I’ve never had a spring break at the beach,” says 22-year-old Ben Schutte of Mason, Ohio, a fifth-year graphic design major and regular student volunteer on a University Honors Program service-learning trip to Kentucky’s Appalachians. “For me, the time outdoors doing good work with good people is a great spring break. Believe it or not, you don’t have to go to Florida to get some sun. The sun shines in Appalachia, too.”

There is, however, one service trip to Panama City Beach, as UC students representing Campus Crusade for Christ join other students from colleges and universities around the country to make meals for the people of Haiti recovering from January’s earthquake.

It’s that commitment that recently garnered national recognition for UC, as the university was announced to the 2009 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

UC Alternative Spring Break Trips

Serve Beyond Cincinnati Trips
Serve Beyond Cincinnati
is a UC student organization that strives to build an emerging, civic-minded generation by providing national and international service experiences for UC students.

Chocco, Peru – Twelve students will be working to build rocket stoves – safe, fuel-efficient stoves – in individual homes, plus they’ll give a health demonstration at a local school. The cost of the trip per student is approximately $1,500. Students will depart Cincinnati on March 19 and return on March 28.

La Libertad, El Salvador – Fourteen students will take part in a rebuilding project following a recent mudslide in the region. The students are joining a project coordinated by the Fuller Center for Housing, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Cost of the trip is $1,200 per students. They depart Cincinnati on March 19 and return on March 28.

New Orleans – Twenty-one students will be volunteering with Rebuilding New Orleans, a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing the homes of elderly and disabled low-income citizens. The cost of the trip is supported through University Funding Board (UFB) support for the student organization. Students will depart Cincinnati on March 19 and return on March 27.

Price Hill – Serve Beyond Cincinnati’s first local alternative spring break trip will be focused around environmental service and sustainability. Ten UC students will volunteer at the IMAGO nature center, which is dedicated to preserving Ohio’s wildlife. The cost of the project is $25 per student.

Center for Community Engagement Trips
UC’s Center for Community Engagement is dedicated to connecting the University of Cincinnati and the community through service.

Rural Alabama and Georgia – Ten students will join Habitat for Humanity in working on six new houses as part of a Habitat for Humanity building blitz in the region. The students depart Cincinnati on March 21 and return on March 26. Cost of the trip per student is $400.

Service Trips Organized by UC Campus Ministries

St. Monica-St. George Spring Break Mission Trips
St. Monica-St. George is offering five spring break mission trips, meant to be experiences that offer students “the opportunity to go beyond their comfort zone to serve and be served.” Students will spend their break serving, praying and reflecting on their faith as it relates to their experiences. The cost of the trips amounts to $200 per student.

Savanna-la-mar, Jamaica – A group of six UC students representing the St. Monica-St. George Parish Newman Center will travel to St. Joseph Church in the Westmoreland Parish of Jamaica. The students will visit mission parishes as they spend the week learning about the culture of Jamaica and aspects of the twinning relationship between St. Joe’s and St. Monica-St. George. They’ll depart Cincinnati on March 20 and return on March 27.

David, Ky. – Nine UC students will travel to St. Vincent Mission in Eastern Kentucky to spend the week working on home repairs, learning about the culture and history of Appalachia and learning about the effects of mountaintop removal (strip mining) on the geography and the people. The group departs Cincinnati on March 21 and returns on March 27.

St. Louis, Mo. – Five UC students will join St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic Church in serving the needs of the neighborhood known as The Ville, the historic heart of African-American St. Louis, as well as the Jesuit parish of St. Matthew. Students will also explore the economic and social aspects of racism. The group departs Cincinnati on March 20 and returns March 27.

Spencer, W. Va. – Seven UC students, one UC alum and one UC staff member will spend the week in the spirit of the Catholic Worker Movement at St. Isaac of Nineveh Gift of Tears Catholic Worker Farm, located in a rural setting in West Virginia, Appalachia. Students will be invited to immerse themselves in the culture and life of the people of Appalachia through daily reflection, communal meals and hard work, breaking down stereotypes and building community with local residents and each other. They’ll also be learning about the effects of strip mining on the geography and the people.  They’ll depart on March 20 and return to Cincinnati on March 27.

Campus Crusade for Christ

Panama City Beach, Fla. – Twenty students will join Big Break, a one-week mission experience in Panama City Beach that draws college students from around the country. The students will be teaming with the service organizations, Good News, Good Deeds; GAIN and Kids Against Hunger to make meals for the people of Haiti. Students will also spend the week reflecting on their faith. They depart Cincinnati on March 20 and return on March 27. The cost of the trip is $269 per student.

Hillel Jewish Student Center

New Orleans, La. – For the second year in a row, the Hillel Jewish Student Center will be sending students to New Orleans to focus on hands-on service, community interaction and the exploration of social justice. The two participants will spend their days doing volunteer work that may include, but is not limited to, installing siding on houses, drywalling, painting, roofing, cleaning, etc., in the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Students will also engage in small group discussion and programming that delve into the underlying issues that were brought about by the storm. During the evenings there will be a myriad of activities including meeting with communal leaders as well as tours of the areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Students depart Cincinnati on March 21 and return on March 28. The cost of the trip is $150 per student plus the cost of transportation.

UC Service Learning Trips
Service learning at UC involves reflective, educational experiences blended with service activities that foster a deeper understanding of course content and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility.

Engineers Without Borders
Engineers Without Borders

Engineers Without Borders
Engineers Without Borders
is a student service organization dedicated to providing sustainable, long-term solutions in developing countries to improve health and education.

Otho Abwao, Kenya – Students have spent previous breaks working on a water pumping, storage and distribution system for a village of more than 500 people, built to prevent waterborne illness. They designed that water system. On this break, seven students will assess the upkeep of the project and collect data on how it has improved health in the region. They’ll also begin planning for building a new school and continue a cultural sharing program with school children, after launching an exchange program with Cincinnati school children on a previous service trip. The students will hardly be languishing in luxury – they’ll sleep under mosquito nets and bathe from a bucket. The cost of the trip is approximately $1,500 per student. The trip was also supported by a $700 stipend per student from the organization’s general funds. Students depart Cincinnati on March 18 and return on March 29.

University Honors Program
The University Honors Program is comprised of the top five percent of UC’s undergraduate students. University Honors focuses on unique and challenging academic and hands-on experiences that reflect community engagement, global study, leadership, research and the creative arts.

Flatgap, Ky. – Thirteen students will explore Appalachian culture while working with the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) to build or rehabilitate homes for underserved residents as part of this University Honors Program service-learning experience. Students will depart Cincinnati on March 21 and return on March 26. Students who complete the spring break with additional Honors readings and reflection will receive a $150 grant from the Honors program. The cost of the trip amounts to $300 per student.

College of Business,  McMicken College of Arts and Sciences

Habitat/Guatemala Service Learning
Habitat/Guatemala Service Learning

Quetzaltenango, Guatemala – Sixteen students will work with Habitat for Humanity Guatemala to build a home for a family. As part of this experience, students will explore cultural differences and their potential impact on social and work relations, as well as improve their Spanish-speaking skills. Students depart Cincinnati on March 19 and return on March 28. The $1,700 cost of the trip per student includes a $500 donation to Habitat for Humanity International.

Study Abroad Programs

UC International provided $14,030 in grants to students and $1,000 to faculty for spring break programs.

Paris, France – Twenty-two students – majoring in fields such as art history, fashion design, French and international studies – will explore landmarks and architecture including the Palace of Versailles and the fashion program at INSEAD. The group departs Cincinnati on March 19 and returns on March 27. The cost of the trip amounts to $1,950 per student.

Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium – Seventeen of UC’s Kolodzik Business Scholars will build an understanding of skills and knowledge needed to do business in the European market. Students will take part in presentations, company visits and conversations with expatriates and multi-national firms. The program begins in Paris, where visits include Nestle and the U.S. Embassy Commercial Services Office. The program then moves to Brussels, the administrative heart of the European Union, where visits focus on the European Union as a trading partner. Cost per student is $1,700; College of Business International Programs subsidized the program by $200 per student.

Querétaro, Mexico – The UC College of Business joins Tecnológico de Monterrey to offer a four-credit-hour international business elective for 13 students. They’ll learn about doing business across NAFTA through company visits, classes and meetings with managers. Students also will stay with host families to become more familiar with Mexican culture. The group departs Cincinnati on March 19 and returns on March 27. The cost of the trip per student is $1,100.

Linz, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic – Twelve UC MBA students will attend an international seminar coordinated by Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. The seminar provides an essential perspective of competencies needed to do business in Austria and the Czech Republic. Students will attend academic lectures and attend company visits with Austrian peers. The program emphasizes the historical and cultural influences affecting business relationships. The program moves mid-week from Linz to Prague.

U.S. Spring Break Study

Delta, Utah – Upper-level undergraduate and graduate paleontology students will examine and correlate sections of Middle Cambrian trilobite-rich Wheeler Shale from newly excavated sections. The cost of the trip per student is estimated at $150. A maximum of 10 students are expected to take part in the trip.

Chicago, Ill. – Fifteen student members of the UC Career Development Center’s ADVANCE program will travel to Chicago as part of the Spring Break Corporate Excursion from March 20-27. The trip will provide an opportunity for students of color to meet with corporate executives, private businesses and government and social service agencies as well as UC alumni and leaders of African-American owned businesses. Visits include stops at Abbott Laboratories, Beaman Incorporated, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Make-A-Wish Foundation and the National Black MBA Association. Cost of the trip per student is $400. However, alumni donations have contributed $100 toward that cost per student.

Charleston/Hilton Head, S.C. – Twenty-two students in the University Honors Program will travel to the region to explore its ecology and culture described in the books of popular novelist Pat Conroy. The group will visit sites such as Daufuskie Island, the Citadel, Middleton Place Plantation and Parris Island. The cost per trip is $700 per student, offset by a $250 travel grant.