Alternative Spring Break ventures to South Carolina
By Presley Talley—
Twenty-two Tarleton Serves members and three faculty members will embark on their fourth annual Alternative Spring Break trip to Summerton, South Carolina, on Saturday, March 5, to aid the victims of recent floods.
Alternative Spring Break, or ASB, allows students to take the “road less traveled” and help communities outside of their immediate Cross Timbers region. The idea for Alternative Spring Break began during spring 2012 when a small group of Tarleton State University students came together and decided to spend their break differently – by camping together and doing service projects.
Since that week, Tarleton Serves has made it their mission to allow students the opportunity to make a difference in various communities across the country.
Tarleton works alongside schools such as Penn State University and Cornell University. Each day, they gather to discuss the day and reflect. Although the trip is solely a Tarleton endeavor, the meetings with other schools that are volunteering is an important asset to the trip, according to its organizer.
“This is actually a very emotional experience, especially when you see people who have lost nearly everything,” Tarleton Serves President Halie Hall said. “You really do find yourself when you lose yourself in the service of others.”
This year, Summerton, South Carolina, was chosen as the destination. Summerton residents fell victim to several floods during the later part of 2015. The floods destroyed homes in the area, causing many people to be displaced. Rebuilding and restoring has been the focus for residents since then.
Aside from volunteering, another outcome of ASB is the people skills that members develop along the way, working side-by-side with the residents of Summerton.
“I get nervous talking to people. I think that by going out of my element I will be able to come out of my shell a little bit,” Becca Hanson, the Tarleton Serves secretary, said. “I feel that we do not all know each other on a personal level, so this experience is a good way for us to grow closer as an organization.”
For sophomore Chandler Walters, the decision for the destination was more than mere coincidence.
“Last year was eye-opening for me,” said Walters. “I decided to go again, because my grandma lives in South Carolina. So, when I saw that was an option to help with flood relief, I wanted to go even more.”
ASB has many repeat participants, including senior Chancie Trammell.
“I decided to go on ASB once more, because I want to make the most of my last spring break as a college student,” said Trammell. “I had such a great experience going to Colorado, so I wanted to do the same this year.”
Despite their continued volunteer efforts, ASB is not all work and no play. The students will also be spending their last day of the trip touring Myrtle Beach.
“Many people are turned off by ASB, because they think it is nonstop work and no fun,” said Hall. “You meet so many amazing people while you’re spending your spring break doing amazing things. I encourage everyone to go at least once. I promise it’ll change your life for the better.”
She added that Tarleton Serves provides the opportunity to open the door to broaden personal horizons.
“When someone asks me why I ‘waste’ my spring break by working for free, I simply ask them if they are happy with the way the world is,” Hall said.” Do they want to see more people being kind, giving and caring?”
“We want to make the world better,” she concluded. “I feel going on Alternative Spring Break is a small attempt at that.”