Campus Ministry chooses Alternative Spring Break locations

St. Edward’s University Campus Ministry recently announced the participants in the 2012 Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and International Immersion trips.

This year, 119 students were chosen out of 151 applicants to go to nine sites within the United States and four international sites. Thirteen faculty and staff members will be accompanying the students on the trips.

“Each year, we evaluate the needs of the community, events in our country and the areas we are currently not serving to determine new placements,” said Liza Manjarrez, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry.

On Oct. 7, accepted applicants were notified via e-mail. Since then, participants have held the Miles for a Mission 5K, which helps raise funds for the trips.

Many of the students selected for ASB this year are first time participants.

“ASB and service outreach is new for me … but the best college experience is about leaving normalcy behind and exploring new and different opportunities that will only benefit you later on in life,” said sophomore Christopher Bynoe, who will be going to New Orleans to the Hurricane Katrina relief site.

Some students who participated in ASB last spring plan to go on an Immersion trip in the spring of 2012 or to be an ASB leader.

Sophomore Rebecca May went to New York City her freshman year to volunteer in inner-city education. This coming spring, she will be leading the Phoenix ASB group, which focuses on the injustices of homelessness.

“Last year, I was more than lucky to be able to go to New York City since it was my first choice,” May said. “After hearing everyone’s stories though … their own experiences, I didn’t really have a first choice as a leader since I had heard that every site has its own life-changing personality.”

Students find out about the program through posters and flyers posted around campus, residence hall RAs and word-of-mouth from friends.

Sophomore Haleigh Campbell first heard of ASB through her RA in the Social Justice Living Learning Community and went to Kentucky. Campbell will be traveling to India in May 2012 to help with orphan outreach at Abhayadhama Human Development Center.

In their applications, students can rank the locations based on which ones they want to go to most. However, students are not guaranteed their first-choice location.

“I didn’t necessarily have a first choice,” freshman Sara Burzynski said. “I labeled all of the locations neutrally because I felt by being placed in an area I wasn’t anticipating, it would just add to the element of excitement and openness to varying cultures the program is fundamentally based upon.”

Burzynski will be traveling to El Paso, Texas, to participate in the Border Experience ASB.