The University of Olivet Celebrates Service Learning Milestone

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Mike Fales at the Heifer International Project Ranch

This year, The University of Olivet is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Alternative Spring Break program, a service learning initiative. Since 1999, the College has hosted service learning trips in March, giving students the opportunity to serve a community in need over spring break. The program also gives students an affordable pathway to experience new cultures, people and places.

On the first Alternative Spring Break program trip, eight students traveled to the Heifer International Project Ranch in Perryville, Arkansas, for a week of service and education about world hunger. As the program continued to grow, the number of students interested in attending an Alternative Spring Break trip has also continued to rise. In 2019, the Alternative Spring Break program included some of the largest overnight service trips in the College’s history.

Mike Fales, The University of Olivet director of service learning and campus ministries and assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, led 20 students to Daytona Beach, Florida, for hurricane relief roof repair March 8-17. The trip was in partnership with the Union Congregational Church in Holly Hill, Florida, a member of the United Church of Christ.

In 2018, students traveled to Houston, Texas to perform hurricane relief efforts. The trip was just one of many opportunities The University of Olivet provided students to give back.

“For a college of this size to have this many students willing to give up their spring break to make the world a better place is an extraordinary thing,” Professor Fales said.

Led by Jacob Richards, The University of Olivet community service coordinator, a second group of 20 students worked near Wilmington, North Carolina, to repair two flood-damaged homes March 9-16. The trip was in partnership with Hosanna Industries in Pennsylvania, a sponsored mission of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches.

Learn more about The University of Olivet’s Alternative Spring Break program by contacting Professor Fales at mfales@uolivet.edu or 269.749.7624. Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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