Montevallo students go on alternative spring break

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011

By HOLLIE COST / Guest Columnist

While many co-eds were spending their spring breaks kicking back and relaxing or traveling to vacation hotspots, a group of University of Montevallo students opted to participate in a different type of experience.

Eleven students participated in the university’s first Alternative Spring Break in Greensboro.

This “vacation,” sponsored by Hero of Hale County and organized by the University of Montevallo’s new Office of Service Learning and Community Engagement, consisted of activities such as demolishing a concrete pillar with a sledge hammer, sanding and glazing old windows and serving pie to locals in the ever-so-popular Pie Lab.

The main focus of the break was to assist in renovating the 100-year-old Martin Stewart schoolhouse. This building, which was relocated from Stewart in 2009, is now housed on the campus of Project Hero. It is slated to become a multi-purpose building for this burgeoning community, providing space for GED preparation, job training, additional bunking for volunteers and much needed storage for various projects.

Alternative break opportunities are growing in popularity among colleges and universities as the nation aims to produce a generation of givers. When asked why these students elected to participate in this break instead of taking a true vacation, students stated they wanted to give back to a world that has provided them so much. They felt driven to help their neighbors and were looking forward to the camaraderie of working alongside their fellow students.

Political science senior Brandon Land stated, “I jumped at the opportunity to go. Being a student for the past five years at UM, I knew there was a poverty stricken area, but I didn’t know the extent of it. I think

it’s great to give back and help improve these areas of need.”

Students participating in this experience were Dorothy Castleberry, Darlene Ravizee, Brandon Land, Patrick Johnson, Deanna Gregg, Cameron Strouss, Kylee Parks, Kathleen McCormack, Heather Huckaby, Jordan Young and Blake Butts.

Hollie Cost is an associate professor of special education at the University of Montevallo. She can be reached at 665-6367.