Linfield stresses a good relationship between students and the community that’s around us, not just the college community but the McMinnville community and even further. The Change Corps organized Alternative Spring Break aims to connect students to the world beyond Linfield. During Spring Break, students went on three different trips from Salem, Ore. to Oakland, Calif.
Sofia Webster, student director of Alternative Spring Break, organized the event with the group leaders. Sophomore Jasmine Libert, service coordinator of the hunger and homelessness awareness group, traveled to Salem to volunteer with and learn about the homeless in the city. Senior Linnaea Funk, service coordinator of youth empowerment and literacy, traveled to Oakland, Calif. with her group to volunteer with The Boys and Girls Club, teaching children how to read and showing them a life beyond theirs. Senior Kaleigh Ansdell led the Linfield Green Outreach group. She worked with several different sites to promote green living.
“The process is finding what groups properly accept our service-learning approach,” Webster said on picking a site for a trip. Change Corps service-learning approach involves students becoming involved with where they are volunteering. It wasn’t only about finishing the job they were given but being able to understand just how what they did affected people they worked with.
“Participants plan for months to go on these trips. They learn about the organizations they are serving, the social need surrounding the issue, and talk about how their daily lives are also affected by the social issue. We help make the experience personal,” Interim Director for Community Engagement and Service, Joni Tonn said.
Each of the trips had its own way of making the experience personal. Webster and Libert were able to find various programs in Salem that would allow them not only to help but to understand who they were helping and exactly what their help was accomplishing.
Funk and her group learned the same about their volunteer work in Oakland.
“[They] immers[ed] themselves in the communities in Oakland, having students give [the children] a more positive understanding about what their possibilities in life are,” Webster said.
“I felt like I was really using my break to make a difference in the world, and I was able to go into the communities that needed our help and people not to come in and fix it but just help them,” freshman Alyssa Kaplan said about her experience in Oakland.
Out of the three, Ansdell’s group involved more of the outdoors.
“They worked at several different sites, starting at Camp Westwind. They cleaned out an enormous compost structure. They came back to campus and worked at the Homestead, an urban [community supported agriculture program],” Webster said. Andsell’s group also worked in the Linfield Garden.
Webster’s experience with Alternative Spring Break last year was the reason she applied to become the Alternative Spring Break’s student director.
“I actually did the program that went to Colorado last year. That inspired me to start getting heavily involved with Linfield in general,” Webster said.
Other students like Kaplan are barely starting their time at Linfield, but she has already been inspired by this experience.
“I’ll definitely do it again. I’m thinking about applying for Change Corps next year,” Kaplan said.
Gilberto Galvez/Features editor
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