Spring Break Service Trip 2022 — Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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For spring break 2022, a group of 20 The University of Olivet students traveled to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, for a week-long service trip led by Jacob Richards ’18, community service coordinator and director of the Difference Maker Program, and Mike Fales, director of service learning and campus ministries and assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and religion.

Students who attended the trip were able to help repair a roof and rebuild a wheelchair ramp for a local resident who is disabled. Work started at 8:30 a.m. every day, and the group often woke up to the smell of freshly made breakfast by first-year student Landen Cooley.

While traveling to Mississippi, the group also stopped in Memphis, Tennessee, to visit the National Civil Rights Museum, spent a day exploring New Orleans, Louisiana, and made a short trip to Mobile, Alabama.

First-year student Justice Burkett, a psychology major with a social work minor, said, “I decided to go on this service trip because I thought it was a good way to push myself out of my comfort zone. This is the third service trip that I have gone on, and I think I will continue to go on more because of the connections I have been able to establish on these trips. The thing I enjoyed the most about this trip was the balance between learning, volunteering and having fun.”

Abbey Peters, a first-year business major who also attended the trip, and said that she decided to go because she thought that it would be a meaningful way to spend her spring break. “I would definitely go on another trip! It was a cheap, fun way to travel and see a lot of cool places. Plus, we were able to help a man and make a difference in his life, and I would love to be able to do that again for someone else,” Abbey added.

Sophomore Asher Wertheimer, a media production and communication major, said “I chose to attend this service trip because I had done similar work over the summer and found it extremely rewarding. I wanted to do something to help those affected by the tornadoes that devastated the south several months ago, but I was unable to and I did not want to pass up another opportunity to help.”

Asher said his favorite memory from this trip was on the last day when everyone worked together to deconstruct and rebuild a ramp for the homeowner who uses a wheelchair. “Everyone worked together brilliantly, and it was wonderful to see so many people solving problems as a group,” Asher added. “I highly recommend everyone joins an OC service trip at some point. You really won’t regret it.”

Students can watch for emails from Jacob Richards (jrichards@uolivet.edu) to learn more about all upcoming service opportunities. To learn more about The University of Olivet, contact the Office of Admission at 800-456-7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.

This piece was written by Julia Bidelman, a senior majoring in media production and communication. She serves as an intern in the marketing and communications department and is especially interested in social media. After graduation, Julia plans to continue her work as a content creator, photographer and social media manager, and she hopes to work in the field of social media for a small business or nonprofit organization.


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