Students take alternative fall break


Kierstin Kirk

This fall break students traded a vacation on the beach for baking for children and reorganizing warehouses.

The students, under the leadership of Andrew Rash, coordinator for Student Activities, boarded a bus early Thursday morning for a long weekend of community service projects. A group of 17 students, staff and graduate assistants traveled to St. Louis and Kansas City, Kansas for an alternative fall break.

“The trip is a service/cultural education trip, as well as a leadership builder also,” Rash said. 

The Student Activities Office plans an alternative trip each semester. There’s one for fall break, and two for spring break. 

This year, they set their sights on St. Louis and Kansas City for the service opportunities, and also for the attractions that the cities have to offer. Along with completing service projects, those on the trip were able to see sights such as the Arch in St. Louis and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. 

“It was a really great trip, the Negro League Baseball Museum was really neat and I had some of the best barbecue in the country,” Rash said. 

The first service opportunity the students were scheduled to do was building and painting a fence for an elderly woman, but the bad weather kept them from completing the project. 

Instead, they ended up helping Mission: St. Louis, an organization that works with inner city youths and families, reorganize one of their warehouses. The warehouse contained different household products that are typically of high demand, all meant for people who are unable to afford them.

“We were there for two hours and I couldn’t believe how much we got done,” Cave City senior Laura Coomer said. “The guys with Mission: St. Louis said that what we got done in two hours would have taken the three of them months to do.” 

Coomer is an officer in the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) and knew there was going to be a regional leadership retreat for the leadership organization in Kansas City during the alternative fall break trip.

Attending this retreat was one of the factors that motivated her to take an alternative fall break. She described the trip, including both the leadership retreat and the service projects, as a wonderful experience. It’s something she would love to do again. 

The second service work the students helped with was baking treats for kids and families at the Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City. 

 Rash said the trip was overall very successful and he enjoyed seeing the students have fun helping others. Another student on the trip, Nashville senior Megan Dunn, helped out at both events and took a lot from the break.

“Giving just two hours of your time to someone who truly needs it can mean the world to them,” Dunn said. “That’s why I love service!”