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Center for Ethics

Alternative Spring Break Trips Send Students to D.C., Memphis, New Orleans, and North Carolina

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – (February 28, 2013) – Instead of participating in the typical revelry associated with spring break, 49 Muhlenberg students will embark upon four service-based “alternative” spring break programs next week.  These students, along with faculty and staff representatives, will travel to Washington, D.C., North Carolina, New Orleans and Memphis.

The 15 students traveling to Memphis, accompanied by Kim Gallon, assistant professor of Africana studies and history; Roberta Meek, lecturer of history and media & communication; Justin Rose, fellow in political science and African studies; and Robin-Riley-Casey, director of the multicultural center, will explore social justice.  Through visits to cultural and historical sites of the Civil Rights Movement, students will gain insight into historical events and perspectives on current conditions of inequality which impact the United States today. Students will also cultivate an appreciation for civic duty and develop knowledge of principles relating to social justice. In this sense, students will partner with various community-based and/or civic organizations, serving a variety of local constituents in particular areas of the region during the week.

This trip is co-sponsored by the Social Justice Collaborative (SJC) and the Black Students Association (BSA).  In addition, the trip is connected to the annual Martin Luther King Week celebration in January and the course, “African American Political Thought” taught by Rose.  Students participating on the trip will also be encouraged to develop presentations about the experience for the annual Social Research Social Justice conference held in April at Muhlenberg.

By traveling to New Orleans and working with St. Bernard Project, 10 students and staff advisors Chaplain Callista Isabelle and Assistant Chief of Campus Safety Tom Dougherty continue a several-year tradition with this organization that rebuilds homes for those who continue to struggle to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

St. Bernard Project founders were given Honorary Degrees at Muhlenberg’s Commencement 2012, highlighting the College’s ongoing commitment to this ongoing partnership.

This trip is sponsored by the student club Restoring & Rebuilding New Orleans (RRNOLA).  Muhlenberg has led an alternative spring break trip to New Orleans every year since Hurricane Katrina.

Gil Schpero, Assistant Director of Hillel, will lead a group of eight to Washington, D.C. to participate in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy (AIPAC) Conference, the largest gathering of the pro-Israel movement. Thousands of participants come from all 50 states to take part in “three of the most important days affecting Israel’s future.” 

AIPAC is a 100,000-member grassroots movement of activists committed to ensuring Israel’s security and protecting American interests in the Middle East and around the world.  AIPAC’s priority is to ensure that both America and Israel remain strong and that they collaborate closely together.

The final trip to Statesville, N.C., is a continuation of another tradition – six students and Capital Projects Manager Dave Rabold will participate in a Habitat for Humanity Building project, working alongside of students from the University of Florida.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They build with people in need, regardless of race or religion, and they welcome volunteers and supporters from all backgrounds.

Each of these trips is meant to transform the students’ world views and to drive home the importance of service – not just one week a year.  Since being selected, the students have participated in meetings to prepare for their trips, and will continue to reconvene upon their return to reflect upon their shared experiences.