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Spring Break Alternative Program Celebrates 20th Year of Service Trips

April 08, 2010

Barbara LeBlanc

Student Volunteering During Spring Break AlternativeThe Spring Break Alternative (SBA) program at Saint Anselm College started with a single trip and 20 participants. This year, the Office of Campus Ministry has organized its 20th spring break of volunteer service trips. In all, 240 students and two faculty members will embark on trips to 16 different sites beginning Friday, Feb. 26.

Campus ministry first offered Saint Anselm students the opportunity to spend spring break in volunteer service in 1991, when it sponsored a trip to Orland, Maine. 19 student participants and campus minister Dan Leahy lived and worked at H.O.M.E., an organization in the rural community that provides services to families and the homeless.

This year, students will travel to Arizona, South Dakota, Maine, West Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Mississippi, and Costa Rica. Two Saint Anselm faculty members, Dr. Dan Daley and Dr. Meghan Clark, will travel with students to Costa Rica. Each trip is lead by two Saint Anselm students.

Campus ministry developed the SBA program on the premise that Christian education seeks to educate the whole person, intellectually, physically, socially, and spiritually. The program stresses three fundamental elements: awareness of poverty and injustice, and of the conditions and structures which create them; direct, "hands on" Christian service to and solidarity with victims of poverty and injustice; and a powerful experience of Christian community, grounded in prayer and reflection.

"As long as students want to serve and want to seek Christ through service, the program will thrive. It's really the passion of the students that keep this program alive," says Joycelin Tremblay, campus minister of faith and justice iniatives, who organizes SBA.

Saint Anselm College is a four-year, Benedictine, Catholic, liberal arts college. Located in Manchester, N.H., the college enrolls about 2,000 undergraduates.

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