When one thinks of Spring Break, the idea of sunny weather and beach fun usually come to mind. It’s often a time of much-needed relaxation for students.
But some students here at Towson University decided to do break the norm when it came to Spring Break 2015. Whether it was traveling to the mountains or helping others in need, TU students found creative ways to spend their week off.
Soccer team kicked around Costa Rica
The Towson women’s soccer team traveled to Costa Rica. While there, the team white water rafted, played two soccer matches, learned to surf, went zip lining, held a soccer clinic and cleaned up part of a turtle preserve.
NAME: Marissa Green
YEAR, MAJOR: Sophomore, Communications
WHERE: Costa Rica
WITH: Women’s Soccer Team
Favorite Memory?: White water rafting.
What did you learn from your trip?: That as an American woman, I am privileged to have all the opportunities that have come with playing soccer. I have played soccer my whole life, and there has always been a team that I could play on. I have received many hours of training to get to where I am today. Women in Costa Rica aren’t so lucky. Soccer there for women is not so popular, and there aren’t a lot of opportunities for them because it’s not a top priority.
Teaching deaf studies in the Dominican Republic
NAME: Gara Gabriel
YEAR, MAJOR: Junior, Deaf Studies
WHERE: Dominican Republic
WITH: Gara went to the Dominican Republic with two other deaf studies students.
What did you do?: As a deaf studies major, this spring break I had the wonderful experience to guest teach at four different schools for the deaf in the Dominican Republic. This opportunity was offered through a program at McDaniel College. I taught at the San Cristobal School for the Deaf, Sabana Perdida School for the Deaf, Santa Rosa School for the Deaf, and the National School for the Deaf of the Dominican Republic.
Favorite memory: My favorite memory was meeting the students for the first time in each class I taught. It was exciting and the students were always engaged.
What did you learn from your trip: I learned about deaf Dominican culture and techniques to teach deaf children. This trip has positively impacted me as a deaf studies major and has made me decide to pursue a career in deaf education.
Alternative Breaks split time between Florida and Michigan
Over Spring Break, Towson University’s Alternative Break Connections program led community service-based trips to both Jacksonville and Detroit.
NAME: Katy Kearns
YEAR, MAJOR: Junior, Elementary Education
WITH: Eleven students and a staff adviser as part of the Alternative Breaks Program
What did you do?: I led an Alternative Break Connections trip to Jacksonville, Florida to volunteer with Presbyterian Social Ministries. We volunteered at a food bank, soup kitchen, retirement home, head start program, and a group home for people living with disabilities. We were also able to spend some time exploring the area and spent a day in Disney.
Favorite memory: Upon returning to the church (at about 1:30 a.m.) after a long day in Orlando, we discovered that the door to the room we were staying in had been locked. Several people tried to pick the lock and we tried about thirty keys that we found around the church but nothing worked. After calling the police to see if they could help we ended up calling a locksmith who was finally able to open the door around 4 a.m. Needless to say we were all pretty tired, but now it’s our favorite story to tell about the trip.
What did you learn from your trip: I learned that even though we were only at each site for about six hours, we were able to have an incredible impact on the Jacksonville community. The organizations we volunteered with were incredibly grateful for what we were able to accomplish. Many of these organizations rely on volunteers to keep their doors open and they do not always receive the help they need.
I also learned that Towson has some incredible students who are dedicated to serving others. There is always so much focus on the negative aspects of spring break that few people recognize the students who are choosing to spend their break serving others.
Theta Chi takes to the Appalachian Trail
Six members of the Theta Chi fraternity took a road trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. They ended up doing a 31-mile stretch on the Appalachian Trail.
NAME: Austin Braswell
YEAR, MAJOR: Senior, Fine art and Design
WHERE: Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
WITH: Five of my fraternity brothers from Theta Chi
Favorite memory: Probably when we were finishing up our 13-mile day. We finished our day on the summit of this enormous mountain; the 360-degree views were incredible, and it really justified why we decided to do our trip in the first place.
What did you learn from your trip: Every time I go backpacking I tend to learn something new! I think for this trip in particular I learned that going into the wild for a few days and disconnecting from your phone and social networks really does wonders for your mental health. Being so busy at school with homework, work, studying and keeping up with student organizations can be extremely draining at times. When I got back home from this adventure, I really felt so much better mentally and physically, and it gave me more motivation to take on this semester head on.