Record 69 applicants for spring break service trips

By Missy Katner

Lumen Assistant Editor

Most students spend spring break relaxing, others work, and some just catch up on sleep. For 38 Viterbo students, the week will be spent on a service trip.

There were more applicants than ever this year, Campus Minister Pat­rick Andera, service trip coordina­tor, told Lumen. Of the 69 students who applied, 24 will be traveling to Chauvin, La., and 14 will be heading to Pittsburgh.

Andera credits the increase in ap­plicants to better advertising and word of mouth, but he does not an­ticipate more than two trips being offered in the future.

“Student government funds a lot of the trip,” Andera explained. “They already are so generous with us. Our goal would be to offer more trips, but it’s just a matter of finding the money. Right now we are pretty content with two trips.”

Both trips cost $100 per person, which is an increase of $50 dollars from last year. The fee goes toward busing, housing, and food for the week.

In previous years, a group of stu­dents traveled to South Dakota to volunteer at a youth center on a La­kota reservation. However, this trip is now offered as a part of a class.

“We had to find a new trip [which could be] basically anywhere in the country,” Andera said. “The prob­lem is that a lot of people have work for us, but the housing situation and finding a safe place to stay is always a little bit difficult.”

Diane Brimmer, the vice president of student development, found the Pittsburgh Project, a nonprofit com­munity development project, online and suggested it to Andera. The vol­unteers from Viterbo will be helping to build a house in the intercity.

While those students are in Pitts­burgh, the other group will be ven­turing south to Chauvin, La., on the Gulf Coast. They will be participat­ing in a conservation and coastal restoration project.

Sarah Lieser, a senior biochemis­try major from Elk River, Minn., has been on the Louisiana service trip twice before. She shared some of her experience with Lumen.

“We were assigned to a house that we helped rebuild from Hurricane Katrina’s destruction,” Lieser said. “I was shocked at the amount of damage still done to several neigh­bors, mostly neighborhoods of low­er socioeconomic status.”

Lieser is excited at the prospect of helping restore some of the coast­line damaged from past hurricanes. She hopes that the work will protect the land from further erosion due to storms.

“You always hear the quote about what kind of earth you want your children to inherit. By taking care of our planet today, we are serving those generations yet to come,” Lies­er commented.

A highlight of the other trips was visiting New Orleans, where Lieser would like to live for a while. She described the city as one “alive with zest, diversity, and jazz.”

In Lieser’s opinion, the people of Louisiana were welcoming and very grateful to the volunteers.

“We had a church cook us a huge traditional gumbo meal to show their appreciation,” she said.

Lieser encouraged all Viterbo stu­dents to attend a spring break ser­vice trip during their college years.

“Serving others has the power to break down stereotypes brought on by ethnicity, race, religion, and so­cioeconomic status,” she said. “For me, serving others is a vocation, and one that doesn’t require a special fancy degree, but simply an open heart and mind.”

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