For some students and faculty members, fall break might mean spending time with family or catching up on sleep, but for others, it is an opportunity to serve.
Kelly Hardie, assistant dean of student services, said a total of three service trips will be taking place this fall break, and they include Gettysburg, Greene County Immersion and Greene County Habitat for Humanity.
The leaders of the service trip to Gettysburg are Rea Redd, director of the Eberly Library, and Courtney Dennis, associate director of the Paul R. Stewart Museum. The trip to Gettysburg has been a trip for a total of four years so far, with the focus of it being historical.
Hardie said that some of the trips tend to have more of an academic focus, with the Gettysburg trip being rich in history, but trips are open to students of all majors.
“Regardless of major, all students are welcome to participate,” Hardie said.
The service trip to the Greene County Habitat for Humanity has been ongoing for 12 years, according to Hardie. The leaders of it are Adrienne Tharp, coordinator of the Bonner Scholar Program, and Paul Hicks, senior electronic media major.
The Greene County Immersion trip is led by Hardie and Samantha Hyland, a sophomore Bonner Scholar. This trip has been hosted for over eight years. Hyland became a service leader by simply showing interest and wanting to be a leader, and that is what Hardie looks for.
“Ultimately our office would really love to see more student leadership within that role,” Hardie said.
In regards to the local trips during fall break, Hardie says being able to work locally gives students a perspective of how poverty is not a far distance away.
“There’s so much need within the Greene County area and just exposing our students to those volunteer opportunities and the want and desire to give back to their community after the trip ends,” Hardie said. “To understand poverty and major social issues, students don’t have to travel a far distance to understand those needs, that can happen right here in their own neighborhood, and I think that’s evident in those two trips.”
Hardie said that each trip over the fall break will fulfill the service learning requirement for students, but students are also encouraged to participate after that requirement has been fulfilled.
Hardie said that there was a total of four initial trips planned for the fall, but there was not enough interest in the fourth. With it being a brand new trip, Hardie will be promoting it for next year. The trip is called the Appalachian Service Project, and it is similar to the Habitat for Humanity trip, but the focus is working on homes that have a serious condition or issue, according to Hardie.
Hardie’s goal as a service leader has stayed the same; to get students involved.
“The goal has remained the same, we just really want to expose the students to the many service opportunities that exist within Greene County and fall in love with them and want to return as a regular volunteer,” Hardie said.
Hardie encourages students to sign up for upcoming trips, including future trips that will take place over the spring semester. For more information or to sign up for service trips, go to the service tab on MyConnect.