Tag Archives: spring break

Change Corps: Alternative Spring Break reminds students of the world beyond Linfield

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

Gilberto Galvez can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com

Linfield students volunteer over spring break

For most college students, spring break entails sleeping until noon, eating junk food, and drinking way too much.

However, there are some among us that used their spring break enthusiasm to better our world. The nine Linfield students enrolled in the Green Outreach Alternative Spring Break program did just that.

By threading sustainability into multiple service projects, from land conservation, to farming, to home building for the poor, participants not only contributed to “green” projects in the area, but to also learned about the mindset and practices of sustainability.

All in all, it was a huge success.

To kick things off, they headed out on Saturday March 22 to work at Westwind, a gorgeous 529-acre wilderness area on the Oregon coast.

They divided into groups with fellow stewards to clear brush, rebuild a deck, fix up hiking trails, and construct a paddleboard shed.

These long days were rewarded by beautiful views, good food, and thoughtful discussions.

“Getting the opportunity to contribute to [Westwind’s preservation] was really powerful,” and provided an “energizing start” to the week of service, according to Program Leader Kaleigh Andsell.

After leaving Westwind, students traveled back to McMinnville and spent a few days volunteering on various projects around the community.

Monday March 24 and Tuesday March 25 were spent working at Walnut City Farm and learning about sustainable agriculture and food systems.

On Wednesday March 26, they helped make the foundations for Habitat for Humanity houses and learned about sustainable building practices.

In their last days, the group brought the “susty” effort to campus.

They conducted a waste stream analysis (sorted garbage) to find out how much recyclable or compostable material was ending up in the trash, finding that over 50 percent of it could have been diverted.

During this time, they also worked in the Linfield Garden.

Duncan Reid, Sustainability Coordinator and Faculty Adviser to the program, said that he was pleasantly surprised by how much they got done.

“The Linfield Garden looks better than it ever has,” Reid said.

With the bimonthly garden work parties, it can only improve. If you’re interested in participating, the next work party will be on April 19.

Looking back, both Reid and Andsell are grateful for the diverse backgrounds and opinions of all participants, and are very appreciative of the collective work ethic.

This excellent combination of people made for a productive and stimulating week of learning, working, and general green outreach merry-making.

Alaire Hughey

Office of Sustainability

The office of Sustainability can be reached at sustainability@linfield.edu

Students assist low-income individuals during ASB 2013

Alternative Spring Break participants traveled to Tacoma, Wash., to help Habitat for Humanity lay the foundations for four homes that will be a part of “The Woods” housing community.

“Participating in Alternative Spring Break provides an opportunity to use down time to help the community,” freshman James Harger said in an email.

Each morning at 8:45 a.m., the participants of the Affordable Housing service-learning program began their work day. The ASB worked alongside AmeriCorps members, Habitat for Humanity full-time volunteers and future Habitat for Humanity house residents to build affordable housing for families.

The group worked on laying the foundation for four houses. The houses will be a part of “The Woods” housing community, which will consist of 15 houses. The housing development will be complete in the next three to five years and will be home to low-income families.

One house in this community will be one of the  largest homes in history for Habitat for Humanity. The home will be big enough for 12 family members to live comfortably.

“Habitat for Humanity is such a great organization,” freshman Julia Nguyen said in an email. “They don’t just build houses, they build homes. They give children a place to grow, adults a place to call their own and families a place to be together.”

Before moving into a Habitat for Humanity home, families are required to complete 500 “sweat equity hours.” Homeowners dedicate hours of labor to build their own homes and the homes of their neighbors. “Sweat equity” reduces the costs of paid labor needed to build a home.

During the service- learning program, ASB participants had the opportunity to meet and work with families completing their “sweat equity” hours.

“Seeing them work so hard really connected what we were doing to why we were doing it,” freshman Breanna Moen said in an email.

In addition to working alongside future residents, Habitat for Humanity recipients donated meals to the group as a token of their appreciation.

“I think the best lunch came from a house recipient and mother of 10 children,” freshman Monica Molina said in an email. “She cooked us traditional Moldavian food, which was delicious and everyone was grateful for.”

Kit Crane, AmeriCorps mentoring coordinator, noticed her peers making connections between concepts, ideas and trends learned in the classroom with the social issues the group encountered during the service-learning program. ASB participants were exposed to low-income families and encouraged to rethink stereotypes of homeless people by understanding what affordable housing actually offers.

The group learned that affordable housing means a lot of different things. For example, affordable housing means families do not have to fear eviction, they have a better commute to work, more time to study for school and better access to college, a safe community and hygienic living conditions.

As a leader, sophomore Vesta Namiranian enjoyed watching ASB participants reflect on their service-learning experiences and grow as conscientious citizens.

“The truth is, service is good for the soul,” said Andy Frei, area director of Residence Life, in an email. “People are meant to connect to and engage with the world. When we put in the time to be responsible stewards of our Earth and consider the needs of others, it puts our own place in this world into perspective.”

 

Sarah Mason/Features editor

Sarah Mason can be reached at linfieldreviewfeatures@gmail.com