For the 17th year, The University of Olivet is offering students the opportunity to travel while serving others through its “Alternative Spring Break” program. This year, the college is offering two ASB excursions – one will be the college’s annual trip to Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Ark., and the other is a trip to Andrews, S.C., where students will provide disaster relief. Both groups will depart campus Saturday, March 5 and return Friday, March 11.
Heifer International Ranch is a world hunger relief agency that believes in long-term, sustainable solutions to poverty and famine. For more than 70 years, Heifer has provided livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of those who struggle daily for reliable sources of food and income. It is a fully functioning, 1,200-acre ranch that is used as a learning facility and focuses primarily on world hunger, poverty and environmental education.
While at Heifer, students will spend half of the day in service to the ranch, doing farm chores and light construction. The other half of each day will be spent in team building exercises, and education about world hunger and Heifer’s unique solution to the problem. Students will also spend one day and night at the ranch’s Global Village, where they will share a meal and sleep on the floor of a home that simulates living conditions in the developing world.
Students participating in this service trip include: Kristen Acuna, a junior from Lansing; Terrence Byrd, a junior from Albion; Nick DeChalk, a senior from Concord; Casey Eldridge, a senior from Vermontville; Reno Sims, a junior from Florence, Ariz.; and Rama’l Wilson, a freshman from Ypsilanti. The University of Olivet employees attending the trip include Thia Eller, assistant professor of art, Carrie Jacob, community service coordinator, and Gary Wertheimer, professor of art.
A second Alternative Spring Break trip is planned for Andrews, S.C., where students will assist with rebuilding areas devastated by massive flooding. This is the college’s third time working with All Hands Volunteers, a non-profit organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. Their work will include tearing down drywall, floors and ceilings of community members’ homes in order to restore them to structural soundness.
Mike Fales, director of service learning and assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, is leading this trip. Student participants include: Connor Bauserman, a senior from Battle Creek; Kaycie Berg, a freshman from Battle Creek; Tyler Britten, a senior from Mendon; Nicholas Clark, a freshman from Garden City; Brian Freiberger, a freshman from Onsted; Nicole Gilbert, a junior from Battle Creek; Kory Hershock, a senior from Marshall; Isabelle Leon, a junior from Grand Rapids; Cole Madry, a freshman from Bellevue; Dillon McLean, a freshman from Mason; Drew Miller, a senior from Sherwood; Cody Ross, a senior from Mendon; Paul Sawaya, a senior from Stanwood; Kris Wells, a freshman from Muskegon; Brianna Wiles, a junior from Dewitt; and Rachel Zeiler, a junior from Ida.