Alternative Spring Break: Service and Self-Discovery

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Alternative Spring Break (ASB) is an option offered by the Office of Student Volunteerism that allows students the opportunity to spend spring break volunteering. When I first heard of this option as a freshman in college, I thought, “Why would I want to waste my spring break?” As I’ve gotten older, and at least a little more mature, I realized that spending spring break attempting to make the world a better place is a lot better than sitting on the couch, eyes glued to the television (what I had previously done), so I decided to give it a shot this year.

I chose the Sustainability trip, since sustainability is a topic near and dear to my heart. I was expecting work, hard work, but I definitely wasn’t expecting anything close to what we had to do on the trip. The agency, World Hunger Relief, focused on hunger relief through sustainable agriculture and waste reduction. One of the ways they reduced waste was by using a compost toilet. They used the human waste with sawdust as fertilizer.

I was not expecting compost toilets.

The toilets aside, I felt as though the work the agency had us do really fostered my love for the land and helped to grow my love for gardening (get it? grow?) The amount of effort it takes to simply grow tomato plants has made me think about the food I waste every day, and has honestly enabled me to think about food in a whole new way.

Moreover, ASB Sustainability helped me discover more about myself, more about my limits, my strengths, my weaknesses. Whenever I used to be told to do anything that involved physical labor, I would always think that I couldn’t do it. Through ASB, I’ve learned that actually, I can do that and more. To some extent, my lack of physical strength had to do with a lack of willpower.

ASB was one of the most memorable experiences of my college career so far, and I encourage anyone who is even the slightest bit interested to give it a shot! It is beyond rewarding.

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Neha Singhneha-2016
B.S. Neuroscience
Class of 2018
The University of Texas at Dallas

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