For years, the days of most college spring break students have been spent one of two ways: either waking up at noon and watching cartoons all day, or partying it up with friends at any given beach destination.
This year, as the nation watched hundreds of thousands of people flee the Gulf Coast because of Hurricane Katrina’s fury a new trend emerged. Students from dozens of universities have pledged to trade in their flip-flops and pajamas to go help rebuild Mississippi and Louisiana.
When you think about it, it’s really a shame that students don’t designate spring break as a time for service every year.
Yeah, we like to complain about how we need a break from the demands of school, but in reality, the things that we find to do on spring break are really no different from what we do every weekend anyway.
Then when you factor in the financial aspect of spring break, community service really looks a lot more appealing.
Hotels, rental cars, cover charges, and gas money are all factors that must be considered when you think about trying to create the college version of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who returns home to notice all of the things that have changed about my community.
But never do we think about making a contribution for the short time that we are there. Of course everyone can’t go clear debris along the Gulf Coast, but there are some ways that we can make valuable use of our spring breaks.
Most high school students are still in school during college spring break, so why not go and speak to a class of seniors at your old high school about college preparation? Or maybe you could go through your old clothes you left home and find items to take to a local shelter. Even helping your parents with little projects they’ve been trying to finish would be better than doing nothing.
And it’s not like you’ll feel bad about it when you finish. Just to be black and in college is an accomplishment in itself, so we should want to give back to the communities that got us this far.
It’s time to start a new tradition. I challenge each college student to think of someone besides themselves for one week out of the year. Besides, you’ll have the whole summer to play Stella anyway.
Samantha Long is a broadcast journalism student from Atlanta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.