The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE) is offering three alternative spring break trips for students interested in service and recreation.
Senior psychology major Nicholas Montanari participated in the “Spring to Action, Break for Change” trip hosted by the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) and the CCE his freshman and sophomore years at WSU. Montanari is planning on going again this year.
“It opened up my eyes to really seeing how far service goes and every aspect of it,” Montanari said.
The “Spring to Action, Break for Change” trip lets students travel all over Washington doing various service projects, such as helping at food banks and setting up community gardens, Montanari said.
Erin McIlraith, the marketing and communications coordinator at the CCE, said the trip is focused on agriculture and sustaining the environment.
“It’s learning, it’s service, and it’s agriculture as the overarching umbrella,” McIlraith said.
Students can apply for the trip online at the CCE website. The applications are reviewed by a committee of former trip participants, students and representatives from the CCE and the CSANR, said CCE assistant director Michael Schwartz-Oscar. The committee looks at how interested the applicants are and how they might contribute to and benefit from the group, Schwartz-Oscar said.
The number of trip participants can vary from 10 to 20, depending on the number of applicants, McIlraith said.
“They try to get a well-rounded trip group together so that it’s a very unique and excellent learning experience for all the students,” McIlraith said.
The trip is free for students, except for two to three meals and any other personal expenses, McIlraith said. The CSANR finances the trip.
Along with the “Spring to Action, Break for Change” trip, the CCE has also teamed up with the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) to offer two eco-adventure trips. According to the CCE website, students can travel to Death Valley National Park in California, or to Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area near Las Vegas.
McIlraith said the goal of these trips is to give students the opportunity to do outdoor activities that are not easily accessible and to give back to the environment.
Tiffanie Braun, the community partnerships coordinator at the CCE, works with the ORC to plan the eco-adventure trips. Braun said they have been offering the trip to Death Valley for five years.
The trip participants partner with the non-profit organization Friends of the Inyo doing projects such as habitat preservation and invasive species removal. Students also get to spend time doing various recreational activities in the area.
“The idea of the eco-adventures is to take care of the land that we recreate in,” Braun said.
The trip to Red Rocks is new this year. ORC coordinator ClemenciaCaporale said students will be partnering with the Las Vegas Climbers Liaison Council and the Bureau of Land Management to improve established rock climbing routes as well as do their own climbing.
“In order for students in this area to get a feel for really good climbing—there’s not a ton very close—and going to Red Rocks is a really unique experience,” Caporale said. “It’s a significant drive, so you wouldn’t want to go for just a weekend.”
Both eco-adventure trips are accepting a maximum of six students so Caporale encouraged students to sign up early. The Red Rocks trip is open to students of all climbing ability levels, Caporale said.
The Death Valley trip costs $300 and the Red Rocks trip costs $325. Students can sign up for both on the CCE website at http://cce.wsu.edu/alternativespringbreak.
Braun said all the spring break trips have been transformational for students.
“They get to see areas of the country that they haven’t been in before,” she said. “There’s this opportunity to bond with a group through this shared experience that ends up creating these really lasting friendships that have been pretty impactful.”