Students volunteer locally, nationally and internationally during spring break.
Students volunteer locally, nationally and internationally during spring break.

Miami students focus on service during spring break 2017

By Sarah Mattina, news and communications intern

Many Miami University students will spend their spring break serving others, learning and exploring at both the local and international levels. The following is a sample of programs and activities students will participate in during the week of March 18-26.

BOOM: Break Out of Miami

The student organization Break Out of Miami, otherwise known as BOOM, will travel to Oklahoma to work with the Miami Tribe, with which Miami University has a strong relationship.

Brad Kasberg (Miami ’12) is the environmental scientist directing the service aspect of the trip. Students will assist the tribe in planting native vegetation, such as milkweed.

The Myaamia Center and the BOOM planning committee conducted pre-trip educational sessions to teach students about the history, language and current status of the Miami Tribe.

Bringing JOY to the Dominican Republic

The Justification of Youth (JOY) was founded in 2014 by Frankie Roskam (Miami ‘15). Since then the student organization has taken Miami students to serve at-risk and orphaned youth in the Dominican Republic several times throughout the year.

This spring break they will travel to Santo Domingo to work in a youth care center and school.

CRU in Montenegro and Panama City Beach

CRU, a Christian student organization on campus, leads its third spring break service trip to Montenegro this year.

Members of the organization also have the opportunity to travel to Panama City Beach for “Big Break,” a conference designed to educate and help students share their faith.

Getting involved locally

Both the Miami University Oxford and Hamilton campuses provide alternative spring breaks for those interested in serving local communities.

Miami Hamilton offers STAYcation, an immersive four-day service experience. The week starts with a poverty simulation (which is open to the community with an RSVP) called C.O.P.E., the Cost of Poverty Experience. The week is dedicated to learning more about poverty and other social issues, including food insecurity, addiction, domestic violence/assault, homelessness and more. Students will visit with a number of social service agencies to learn about their missions and completing hands-on community service projects at these sites. The Hamilton program is sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement

This experience also includes a historical overview of the city of Hamilton for students to gain a more in-depth understanding of not only the challenges faced by the community but also the positive changes.

Students on Oxford’s campus can participate in a three-day Alternative Spring Break Service Program aimed at fostering connectedness and understanding between Miami students and the Oxford/Cincinnati communities.

By participating in meaningful community service projects with local nonprofit organizations, Miami students will learn how they can make a difference in Oxford, Cincinnati and beyond.

The Oxford program is sponsored by the office of community engagement and service, International student and scholar services and student activities.

Rebuilding Gatlinburg

Twelve Miami University Middletown students and four staff members will participate in a four-day service trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Students will assist in rebuilding homes affected by wildfires that devastated the region in November.

Students will hear about Appalachian culture and the impact of the fire on local residents from a variety of speakers and community members throughout the trip.

Upon their return, students can showcase what they experienced and learned at a special event on Monday, April 3, at the Middletown campus.

The program is sponsored by the office of community engagement and service and the Regional English Language Center. It is conducted in partnership with Live It, an outreach ministry with more than 700 different service projects in Gatlinburg.

Government Relations Network

Students will travel to both Columbus and Washington, D.C., with the Miami University Government Relations Network to participate in a conference that will give them experience in the world of government legislation.

They will get to discuss important issues like research, higher education in Ohio, budgetary matters and their Miami experiences with legislators and staff.

Opt-outside: adventures in nature

The Outdoor Pursuit Center will lead two different trips this spring break.

Students have the opportunity to backpack the last 50 miles of the Appalachian Trail. This six-day trip will travel through the Georgia section of the Appalachian Mountain Range and will finish at Springer Mountain.

Students can also ski in the Rocky Mountain National Park. The trip begins with an introduction to ski-touring and winter backpacking techniques.