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Alternative spring break students prepare for a week of service, learning

By Jenna Snider

As spring break approaches, some Bellarmine students are gearing up to spend a week relaxing on the beach, while students involved in the Alternative Spring Break program are

preparing to spend their week immersed in service.

This year, students are traveling to Washington, D.C.; Huntington, West Virginia; and David, Kentucky, to focus on refugee and immigrant access to healthcare, food insecurity and education access.

Sophomore Sarah Recktenwald, one of this year’s trip leaders, got involved with the program during her freshman year at Bellarmine.

“My IDC professor, Liz Byron, told our whole class to apply, and I learned that there was a focus towards what I was interested in, which is education access, so I was like okay I’ll go ahead and try,” Recktenwald said.

Lauren Pappalardo, a sophomore history and political science major got involved with ASB because one of this year’s trip’s focus aligned with her passions.

“The one that I’m going on is about refugee and immigrant access to healthcare, and I wanna do international politics one day, so I’m really passionate about immigration studies already,” Pappalardo said.

Pappalardo is going on the trip to Washington, D.C., and the program focuses on healthcare access for immigrants.

“I’m really excited, I’ve never been to D.C. before, and so I’m really excited to not only do this volunteer work, but also get to see some museums and important historical sites,” Pappalardo said.

Students also get involved with Alternative Spring Break to connect with their peers at Bellarmine.

“I saw it at a tabling event, and I was initially interested because I’m not from here, and so I wanted to kind of get connected with people who are also interested in service trips, and I thought it would just be fun,” said freshman Sophia Tuma, who is going to Huntington, West Virginia, where students will learn more about food insecurity.

“I’m just really looking forward to kind of stepping out of my comfort zone and having a hands-on transformative experience,” Tuma said.

Recktenwald said the traveling aspect of ASB is what makes it such a unique and immersive experience.

“Alternative Spring Break is a unique experience for college students where you can take away from your normal life and immerse yourself in service without any distractions because you’re in that space,” Recktenwald said.

Students interested in getting involved with ASB should watch for next year’s application in the fall semester.

“The application usually comes out in the fall, and we have a couple information sessions where you can ask us some questions about it and learn about the different trips,”Recktenwald said. “It’s a very simple application process.”

The cost of each trip for students is $35 for the week, which includes food and housing. The rest of the cost is covered by the Center for Community Engagement and ASB-organized fundraisers held throughout the year.



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