Last Updated: August 15, 2018, 1:38 pm

Alternative Spring Break program grants memorable experiences


Dixie State University is offering service-driven students a chance to visit Houston, Texas, or Puerto Rico in March.

The 2018 Alternative Spring Break trip will be taking DSU students to assist communities with disaster relief efforts. The cost of the trips will be roughly $900 for Houston and $2,000 for Puerto Rico.

Dillon Mckinney, a junior mathematics major from St. George, and DSUSA’s vice president of service, said although deciding on a theme for each trip is a challenge, disaster relief made the most sense because of the number of recent natural disasters. Both destinations this year are places that are suffering due to record-breaking hurricanes, which hit the cities late last year. Mckinney said by offering two spring break service trips, it is pushing the boundaries of the program and reaching out to more students.

“We wanted to send two trips this time around to give students the opportunity to go and not have to turn people away,” Mckinney said.

Student Service Leader Emilie Namikawa, a sophomore English major from Rancho Cucamonga, California, said students can expect to help the communities with a variety of projects including demolition, clean up, delivering solar generators, providing water filters, and small building projects.

On one of the trips, students will be collaborating with Light Up Puerto Rico to assist rural communities that are still without electricity. Students that go on one of the alternative spring break trips will be assisting the local communities with the things they need most, which is one reason DSU Student Association believes these trips are so important.

“Who doesn’t want to spend their spring break in somewhere they’ve never gotten to travel to before?” Namikawa said. “And not only does it give you things to put on your resume because that’s what college students are looking for but … alternative breaks gives you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and serve people who you normally would never come into contact with.”

For Taylor Dorsten, a sophomore elementary education major from Richmond, Indiana, the alternative break trips have expanded her network, helped her experience new things, and made her feel fulfilled to be making a difference, even if it doesn’t seem like a very big difference.

“I promise that just picking up trash off the side of the road is a huge difference, and it’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that,” Dorsten said.

She said she’s made lifelong friends, learned how to work better in a team environment, and how to be an effective follower with the help of the alternative break trips.

“You’re putting yourself in a community that’s not like where you’re from, and you’re tackling real-life world issues and making a tangible difference,” Mckinney said.

There are still plenty of spots open for interested students, on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“To anyone who is reading this and has doubts about going on one of these alternative breaks, just do it,” Dorsten said. “I promise you that you’ll love it and have the time of your life.”