(Ashland, Ore.) Community service as a spring break activity is becoming more popular at Southern Oregon University. For the 2011 break, March 12-27, 40 SOU students will be doing volunteer work in four destinations, up from 32 students who went to three destinations last year.
This year’s most popular destination is the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with earthquake-torn Haiti. Thirty-four students applied for the 13 available volunteer positions. Students will work with orphans and other local children in the small town of Jaibon through Orphanage Outreach.
Other alternative SOU spring break destinations are:
- Tacoma, Wash. where students will learn how a wide range of organizations work together from farm, to food bank, to soup kitchens and homeless shelters to help their neighbors through the Emergency Food Network
- Oakland, Calif. where students will see how nonprofits like City Slicker Farms work to alleviate the problem of access to fresh, locally grown produce through a network of community gardens around the city
- Visalia, Calif. where students will be building houses with Self-Help Enterprises alongside future homeowners and learning about rural issues like access to clean water.
“These trips are a great way for students to use their spring break for good,” says SOU Civic Engagement Coordinator Julie French. “They do volunteer work, but they also learn a great deal about a specific social issue and the culture of the area where they are serving. We love to see students get excited about service and then return to campus and continue applying what they have learned.”