Students should use spring break to learn


Graphic by Alyssa Miles

March 19, 2014

Editorial Staff Opinion

Spring Break is a time for students to celebrate their week-long freedom from responsibilities. As MTV has been showing us since 1986, the year they began covering Spring Break live, many students head down to warm beaches and have their fill of alcohol and regrettable decisions.
Although this may seem like an attractive idea for a vacation, there are other opportunities for Spring Break that students should take advantage of.
College is a great time to have fun and go out with your friends, as evidenced by Whitewater’s thriving bars, but it also is a time for students to learn both inside and outside the classroom.
By volunteering, students can learn a plethora of valuable life lessons including hard work, empathy, humility, sacrifice and compassion.
These values can be of great help to students who will soon find a career and enter the workforce.
UW-Whitewater offers a few alternative Spring Break opportunities that students would be wise to utilize.
For example, UW-Whitewater Habitat for Humanity offers a Spring Break trip every year. This year, participants will travel to Albany, Ga.
This may not seem like a vacation at first glance, but the agenda for the week has non-work activities planned as well, including a day at the beach.
This provides students an opportunity for fun in the sun while helping those in need.
Grades can be a source of stress for students in college, and volunteering can help with that as well.
A study by Amelia Parnell of Florida State University in 2010 titled “The relationship between volunteering and undergraduate academic achievement at Florida State University,” found students who volunteer during their time at college usually have a higher GPA than students who do not.
For students interested in learning about United States history, UW-Whitewater also offers a unique travel study opportunity during Spring Break.
The social justice travel study takes UW-Whitewater students to places with strong civil rights histories such as Cincinnati, Montgomery, Selma and Jackson. Students can take this trip either for credit or non-credit.
Students will learn about historic events in those cities while also attending museums and other landmarks along the way.
This is a great way for students to learn and enjoy themselves in beautiful historic cities across the United States.
In addition to opportunities given by the university, groups like the United Way also provide alternative Spring Break trips for those looking to volunteer. According to their website, destinations include Washington D.C., the New Jersey shore, San Francisco and others.
All of these destinations have volunteer opportunities, including a trip to Biloxi, Miss., a community that was ravaged by powerful storms and is still trying to rebuild.
Although some of these destinations may not blow your mind with bikinis and gallons of alcohol, they all provide unique opportunities that allow students to help those in need, grow as a person and can be attractive on a résumé. This should be something that is more important to students than emulating Spring Break coverage on television and getting blackout drunk for three to five days in an unfamiliar environment.
Students interested in more information on the social justice travel study in 2015 should contact Kari Borne at the Continuing Education Office at (262)472-1003 or [email protected]