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Elvis is not the focus of this trip to Memphis

Senior Mohammad Khan has spent past spring breaks kayaking and camping with friends, but this year he’ll spend six hours a day packing food for needy families at the Mid-South Food Bank in Memphis, Tenn.

In another area of the city, seven other students will spend their spring break walking, bathing and caring for homeless animals at one of Memphis’ animal shelters. Both groups of students will sleep on cots in churches, and will have little time for sightseeing.  

The trips to Memphis are two of 11 Alternative Spring Break trips offered to students during this year’s spring break. Coordinated by UNT’s Center for Leadership and Service, the trips raise awareness of social issues and injustices to students by providing them with opportunities for community service.

Amy Simon, director of the center, describes each trip as “an intensive service experience in which students get to immerse themselves into a community.”

“They will learn about themselves and learn about social issues while making a difference. A trip has the potential to be a life-changing experience,” she said.

The center, previously the UNT Volunteer Center, initiated Alternative Spring Break in 2010. Six trips were offered to a small number of UNT students the first year.

This year, 130 students will participate. In addition to the two trips to Memphis, students could choose to go to:

  • Eureka Springs, Ark.
  • Guthrie, Okla.
  • Galveston
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • New Orleans
  • New York City
  • San Antonio
  • St. Louis
  • Tahlequah, Okla.

The projects in these cities include:

  • Rebuilding homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina
  • Assisting at a homeless services organization
  • Working with underprivileged, abused and neglected children
  • Helping to restore Galveston Bay’s natural habitats, as well as working in food banks and caring for homeless animals.

Students must apply for the trips. Eight students participate in each trip, and are accompanied by a staff or faculty member. All of the projects are coordinated with a nonprofit service organization or foundation.

 -          Nancy Kolsti, News Promotions

Posted on: Wed 07 March 2012

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