Students Spend Spring Break Giving Back to Others across the Globe
Several groups of students opted out of the traditional spring break experience and chose a different path this year -- HPU's Alternative Break Program that sends students to parts of the world that need their help and service.

Sixteen students and four members of Oak Ridge United Methodist Church teamed up to drive eight hours to Tuscaloosa, Ala. where they devoted an entire week to restoring tornado damage caused by last year's storms in the area.

The group spent the week repairing siding on homes, installing insulation, digging ditches for plumbing and electric, woodwork, landscaping, clearing debris and assembling furniture.

Graham Howard, a senior, has been on many trips through the Alternative Break Program and admits this trip was one of the most touching he has experienced.

"This was the fifth Alternative Break trip I have done since I've been at HPU and this was one of the most meaningful trips," says Howard. "The people we helped were in such need, and they were so thankful for our help."

HPU's co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, also collectively traveled to New Orleans with Habitat for Humanity to aid in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts that are still needed in the area. Fourteen students and one adviser spent the week painting houses, building fences and pouring concrete.

On the last day of the trip, students had to opportunity to meet with hundreds of local students from the New Orleans area to do a community walk and clean up. For Dylan Robinson, a member of the fraternity, this in particular was the most influential part of the trip.

"We all met in a park in the 7th Ward and cleaned up the neighborhood. We could still see the remnants of Hurricane Katrina on many buildings and see how run down the area still is," says Robinson. "It was a great way to end the week and to see what everyone had accomplished."

Finally, two students arranged their own spring break trip to Haiti in conjunction with Children's Nutrition Program of Haiti. Daniel Brown, a sophomore entrepreneurship major, and Michael Craig, an exercise science major and Pre-Med student, visited the country to provide medical and nutritional care to Haitian citizens.

"We learned to perform minor procedures, passed out medicine and supplies and assisted surgeons and numerous clinics across the country," Craig said. "I was able to give back and learn new skills, and it was an experience I'll carry with me for the rest of my life."

The hours that these students spent giving their time back to others are an example of the 30,000 hours that they volunteer on an annual basis.