UNH Students Take a Break
to Make a Difference for Others
Contact: Denise Hart
UNH Media Relations
March 10, 2004
DURHAM, N.H.– Spring break is on the horizon and for 126 University
of New Hampshire students fun in the sun means wielding a hammer
to build a house for Habitat for Humanity, making soup and working
in a shelter for homeless people in Washington, DC or Jackson, Mississippi,
clearing and repairing paths as part of Appalachian Trail maintenance,
helping in after-school programs in East St. Louis, Illinois or
Dallas, Texas, or providing outdoor education experiences for Cherokee
nation children in North Carolina.
The students are taking their week off and offering their energy
and enthusiasm as part of 14 trips organized by the Alternative
Break Challenge (ABC), a program run by students for students. At
UNH, the legwork is taken care of by the ABC executive committee
made up of co-directors Erin Delaney and Rick Walsh and committee
member Ashley Standbridge. Marianne Fortescue, coordinator for service
learning UNH's Partnership for Social Action, serves as the group's
Found on campuses across the United States and at UNH since 1994,
each campus program operates independently, with student organizers
researching potential sites and raising the funds needed for vans
to get the students there. Two students, who have previously participated
in ABC, are assigned as trip leaders for each project. At an ABC
fair in early December, the leaders sell their projects to interested
students. Students name their top three choices and then the executive
committee goes to work matching them up with what's available.
This year, for the first time, the ABC team is planning to guide
students to local service opportunities after they return. The committee
will host a debriefing session about two weeks after everyone returns
where the students will gather to share slides, discuss their experiences
and learn about local service possibilities.
“The basis of ABC is helping other people and the idea is
it doesn't have to stop when you get home,” says Delaney,
a sophomore who taught at a Dallas after-school program last year
and who will travel to Cherokee, North Carolina, this week to offer
outdoor education after-school experiences.
Editors, News Directors: If you are interested in interviewing
UNH students at their Alternative Break Challenge sites, please
contact Marianne Fortescue at 862-2197.