It’s common for college students to spend their spring break somewhere tropical, where they can kick back and take a breather from the rigors of academia.
ICYMI (In case you missed it), spring break trips have changed.
Instead of having fun in the sun, many of today’s college students are committing to spending their spring and holiday breaks giving back and serving communities that need it the most. Students from Mizzou Alternative Breaks of the University of Missouri (the largest student-led, service learning program in the country), decided to spend their spring break serving immigrant and refugee populations in the Twin Cities.
With the desire to “serve, not help,” Sharanya and five additional students from the program traveled seven hours in a rented SUV to Minnesota to volunteer in the Wellstone Center Food Market.
“We started planning the trip last summer, to give us time to research the refugee populations in the Twin Cities and see where we could be of assistance,” said Sharanya, the student volunteer who served as the lead for the trip. “We were hosted by Robbinsdale UCC Church for the week we were here and took showers at the local YMCA. We spent some of our volunteering at the Hmong American Partnership and then went on to Neighborhood House.”
Georgi Nguyen, Food Market manager, was thrilled when she heard the students were coming. “It’s super refreshing to see students taking an active stand for immigrants and refugees, which are often the most marginalized and underrepresented communities,” she said.
They came on Bonus Thursdays—one of the busiest times of the week—where participants can shop for additional grocery items,” Nguyen said. On that particular Bonus Thursday, it was during Spring break, when the need is traditionally higher. When they arrived, they jumped right in however they could help. They stocked shelves, and also got to meet our participants and help them select their grocery items. It was such a pleasure to have them here.”
They did, however, have a little bit of fun while they were here. Sharanya said the group visited Minnehaha Falls and went to the Mall of America. It is spring break, after all!