Though spring break is often synonomous with beaches, bikini clad girls and alcohol, there are a handful of students at UR who will be spending their spring breaks lending a helping hand to those who can benefit from their assistance.

Hillel, the Catholic Newman Community and another student sponsored trip are offering students a chance to do hands-on community service over the week-long break.

Hillel and the student sponsored trip will be taking students to Biloxi, MS to restore roofing on homes following the utter devastation of Hurricane Katrina that left much of the Gulf Coast in rubble and its citizens in a great plight.

The Newman Community will be taking students to Baltimore, MD to work with House of Mercy, an organization that works with poverty-stricken Baltimore neighborhoods.

It is now, more then ever, that these people need the help of college students who can do for them what they can not do for themselves. The only disappointment is that so few students are aware of these trips and consider them viable spring break options. What’s important is that these groups serve as the potential catalyst for an effort that can become far greater.

Other students on campus see the example set by these organizations. Most students use their spring breaks to play on the beach, or, if they lack the funding, fly home and watch television. Yet for a small price, students can help those in need while experiencing a unique opportunity.

Though the religious organizations have started down the right path, these programs will not truly be successful until other organizations follow. The might of the Greek organizations, with their tightly-knit bonds, would be well-applied to these alternative spring breaks. Greeks have the ability to secularize what many students may see as a an activity solely for religious groups. And what better way for Students for Social Justice to make a difference than by giving up nine days to do what the government could not?

With only nine days, spring break is too short to have a job and too long to do nothing. These community service experiences are once-in-a-lifetime, the kind that can help students build character, break stereotypes and realize that as strong as the call of Acapulco may be, the call to service is far more worth answering.

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