Beginning the summer of 2016, a team of University Scholars started planning five Alternative Spring Breaks. Over the course of the school year, these dedicated student leaders worked with one another, the Scholars Program, and colleagues in the Center for Community Service to bring these trips, designed to serve as jumping off points for a lifetime of engagement with communities across the nation and world, to life. See below to learn a bit more about each of the five student-designed and led service and learning trips sponsored by the Scholars Program and be sure to check out all of our photos on Flickr!
Community and Conservation in the Navajo Country, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Participants: Ian McLarney, Rachel Shapiro, Hannah Bergam, Kristen Braley, Regina DeGeorge, Nick DePorzio, Tyler Hall, Alex Piers, Dan Polnerow, Grace Schulz, and Evan Yin
The group partnered with the Grand Canyon Trust, a non-profit protecting the people and environment around the Colorado Plateau. They helped prepare traditional farm land for growing season, built a new outhouse for a local Hopi farmer who hosted their campsite, and cleared irrigation channels.
Understanding Fairtrade Coffee Production in San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica
Participants: Adrian Forrest, Elizabeth Wig, Chichi Onwubueke, Ben Fickes, Nick Salazar, Ryan Maia, Nick Rioux, Vanessa Gregorchik, Andre Kirunda, Isabella Ragazzi, Jessie Sigler, Tyler Gogal, Alicia Kim, and Talia Petersen
Scholars travelled to San Marcos de Tarrazu, Costa Rica with our Associate Director, Dr. Andrew Karas, to get a first-hand look at the inner workings of the fair trade coffee industry in Costa Rica. Volunteers, working with RAW Tours, were immersed in the coffee culture, visiting several local coffee farms and experiencing all aspects of the growing, harvesting, and milling process. Scholars also helped at La Escuela Los Angeles, painting a classroom, weeding the garden, and teaching English, math, and engineering experiments.
Bridging Historical Divides in Havana, Cuba
Participants: Elisa Figueras, Mike Tormey, Francesca Brecha, Caroline Cervera, Caroline Ghio, Elliot Horen, Katelyn Keen, Kristen Brown, Lynnsey Martin, Mariana Mora, Daniel Rassaby, Marc Tawfik, and Gavin Winter
For this ASB, our Scholars travelled with Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Jeff Juris, an expert on Latin American studies. The Scholars, working with Global Awareness Worldwide, focused on learning about everyday life through person-to-person interactions in a number of settings, including community gardens, which serve as focal areas for food production and cultural life in Havana, and at senior centers. Consistent with Northeastern’s rapid, robust engagement with Cuba in the wake of improved international relations, our University Scholars blazed a trail for service and learning opportunities there, teaching English, painting, and assisting in church construction. The group was hosted by Global Volunteers and the Cuban Council of Churches in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana.
Building Sustainable and Resilient Community in New Orleans, Louisiana
Participants: Kathrin Lozah, Maria Bermudez, Gabe Morris, Ben Novak, Megan McCallister, Ben Moran, Amanda DeMonte, Jodi Robertson, Jay Shome, Immanuel Ampomah, and Murray Sandmeyer
Students travelled with the Director of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue, and Service to New Orleans to serve with Common Ground Relief, a community organization that started as a response to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Since then, the organization has been dedicated to helping the communities of the Lower Ninth Ward achieve a sustainable life, with a focus on housing reparation and environmental restoration. While learning about the ongoing political and economic implications of Katrina and the broader context of erosion and severe weather, students planted 6,000 plants across 2 miles of ground on the coastal shore of the Gulf of Mexico and 120 trees in the Jean Lafitte Swamp National Park.
Historical Memory and Prairie Preservation in Cheyenne, Oklahoma
Participants: Frank Ali, Alix Zackon, Lindsey Bressler, Duane Swift, Shemual Tsai, Diego Rivera, Francesca Giorgianni, Morgan Foster, Alyssa Wren, Abigail Hodge, and Michael Wheeler
This group of Scholars, accompanied by Professor of Communication Studies and Scholars Program Faculty Fellow Greg Goodale, ventured to Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, which protects and interprets the area along the Washita River where Lt. Col. George A. Custer led the 7th U.S. Cavalry on a surprise dawn attack against the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle on November 27, 1868. This site is also surrounded by the Black Kettle National Grasslands, which spans more than 30,000 acres of grazing pasture and prairie habitat. Working with the National Park Service, our Scholars engaged with complex issues of historical preservation at a site of violent conflict and performed prairie restoration work such as seeding, planting, trimming, and removing exotic plant species.